After a long day attending to life, children, and work; many mums look forward to night time for some peace and quiet and to accomplish tasks without endless interruptions from their kids who should be in bed anyway. But that is not often the case as we find ourselves constantly battling with our children over bedtime.
According to a panel of medical and scientific sleep experts, studies showed that the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14 and 17 hours, for infants between 12 and 15 hours, for toddlers between 11 and 14 hours, for preschoolers between 10 and 13 hours, and for school-aged children between 9 and 11 hours. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours was considered appropriate, 7 to 9 hours for young adults and adults, and 7 to 8 hours of sleep for older adults.
Sounds great in theory, but kids can suddenly get hyperactive at bedtime and leave a already fatigued mum frustrated.
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A few strategies in place that’s consistently enforced; you can actually make bedtime fun for the whole family. The key is to create a gentle routine, where everyone can thrive.
Below are 8 tips to help you ensure bedtime compliance with your kid:
1. Establish A Routine
Have a solid bedtime routine and stick to it. Right after dinner, bathe the kids, and put them in their clean sleep wears. Be sure that they know that they need to do these things before they can enjoy the other fun nighttime activities. If they are unwilling to do the clean up activities of bedtime, you can let them know that they won’t be able to do the fun aspects, and will still have to be in bed at the stipulated time. Let them make their choices and have their consequences.
2. Transition Into Bedtime
It is important for parents to think about why their kids are fussy and reluctant when it’s bedtime. Many mums announce bedtime and expect the kids to fall to bed and sleep immediately; there’s something wrong with that. Build up events to the bedtime instead, activities that help them wind down and prepare themselves to get some rest so that tomorrow can be just as exciting.
Let them know at least an hour before bedtime; if bedtime is 8 PM, by 7 PM, you could say “Bedtime is in an hour time, sort your uniform, socks and books for tomorrow”.
In between, have conversations with them about how their day went, sports practice and other activities at school. this could relax them and also help you bond with your children better.
3. Avoid The Over-Tired Trap
One of the reasons kids give a hard time before sleeping is because they are actually too tired. When this happens, they can get hyperactive and rather than wind down, will throw tantrums and downright refuse to yield to bedtime.
Mums can forestall this by regulating afternoon naps, so the child is not sleeping too long during the day. Also run your errands in time, so you are not dragging your child along your rigorous routines during the day, and they can be home after school relaxing.
Sleep expert, Dr. Marc Weissbluth, a pediatrician, father-of-four and author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child says the best time for a child to fall asleep is just when he/she is getting drowsy.
4. Bedtime Snack
Adopt bedtime snacks as a ritual for the family. This will subconsciously prepare the kids and help them register that bedtime is imminent. It does not have to be junk food; strawberries or some other healthy treats will do just fine. You can indulge their sweet tooth once a while- just make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.
The beauty of making this a tradition is the kids can easily adapt to the sequence of events before bedtime and not struggle against it anymore.
5. Show Time
You can allow them 30 minutes of their favourite TV show on a specific day of a week before bedtime. If you pick Wednesday for instance, on other days, they will already understand that aside other bedtime rituals, they will have to observe lights out, on Wednesdays, they won’t contest going to bed once their screen time is over.
READ ALSO: New Mum? See Tips on Getting Your Baby to Sleep
6. Gentle Plays
Cuddle with them gently on the couch or in their beds just before bedtime. If you make this a habit, they are not likely to make a scene before going to bed, it also means the have something to look forward to when bedtime is close, asides whatever family bedtime rituals, your reassuring motherly cuddles sets them in a peaceful state for the night’s rest.
7. Dim The Lights
Lower light helps to stimulate the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Keep the lights dim after dinner, while the children take their bath and go through their bedtime routine. The dim lights will help your family win down and begin to relax.
8. Make Mornings Special
How your family starts the mornings pretty much sets the tone for how the rest of the day will go including bedtime. When you rise in the morning, wake your family up with cheerful smiles and a positive energy.
Initiate the exchange of hearty “good mornings” with a big smile; squeeze your children in a tight cosy hug and give surprise kisses while getting them ready. A loving morning can greatly uplift the mood of your entire family, including you, which can ultimately make the children yield more willingly to evening routines.
Tags: Bedtime, kids, sleep
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