As parents we cherish our quiet time and desperately need sleep to rejuvenate ourselves.
So then why or why do our children not seem to have the same needs?
Kids seem to be born with the innate ability to fight sleep at all costs. So is it possible to get your kids to bed without the fight?
Yes, it most definitely is. It will take some work and more determination than your child, which could be quite a bit, but it is possible.
Setting everyone up for success
Setting everyone up for success is essential to a smooth bedtime. So how do you set things up for success?
With s schedule. Not just a night time schedule but a daytime schedule as well. For help creating a daytime schedule check out my scheduling post.
For now let’s concentrate on a nighttime schedule. A nighttime schedule doesn’t have to be a big, scary thing. It is simply a routine you follow every night to help your children wind down and prepare for sleep.
Your nighttime routine will be something very individual to both you and your child. If you have more than one child you may need to make adjustments for each child.
Every child is different and so are their needs. As children get older they will naturally need less time to wind down but even then every child is different.
To create your nighttime routine, first determine what time you would like you child to go to bed. This would mean in bed and asleep, not just in bed and still fighting sleep.
Take into consideration what time your child needs to wake up.
Many parents make the mistake of thinking their children are fighting sleep because they are not tired or just don’t need that much sleep.
They are fighting sleep because they are kids. Their bodies may be telling them they are not tired and ready for sleep but that is what we will be fixing with the nighttime routine.
So, make sure the time your would like you child to be asleep by is realistic. Look at when they need to be up and set bed time accordingly so they receive enough sleep.
After determining bedtime, it is time to start working on the plan. Think about all the things you would like to have them do before bed time.
Things like, bathe, brush teeth, change clothes etc..
Determine how much time each task should take and work backwards to create your routine.
Don’t forget the story or cuddle time.
Now you should have your entire routine laid out.
It doesn’t matter if it is 15 minutes for 3 hours, as long as it is something you can stick to that will be enjoyable to both you and your child.
Before the routine
A bedtime routine is a great way to help children wind down and let their bodies know it is time to rest.
You should also look at what your children are doing before their bedtime routine starts.
If your children are heavy on the screen time and only have a short bedtime routine they may have a harder time calming down.
Consider no screen time for a period before your start your bedtime routine.
Playing outside if it is still light out or even just playing with toys will help children tire out and be more ready for bed.
Be flexible and adjust
You need to give your routine some time to work so don’t give up too soon.
Give your need routine at least 2 weeks to work. Make sure you give it a good 2 weeks.
The routine will only work if you stick with it.
If it is not working well after 2 weeks then some adjusting might be need.
To adjust your plan, objectively evaluate what is not working for you.
Your child may not be falling asleep within seconds but is it better than it was before?
If so, you may just need a bit longer to fully adjust to the new routine.
If you feel like there is no change in your child getting to sleep then look at what is going on.
Does your child love the story time but hate to brush their teeth? Then having them brush right before hopping into bed may not be the best.
Look not just for what is not working in your routine but for what is working or at least what you both enjoy.
If there are things that must be done but are not enjoyable like brushing teeth then make that the first thing you do.
If you make the most enjoyable parts last the fighting will be significantly less.
Once you have a new routine or at least a new order for your routine give it a try again.
Keep at it
Consistency is everything when it comes to kids.
It is proven to take 21 days to create a habit, not just for kids but for adults too.
Keep at it and before long you will both be enjoying your time together at night and then enjoying wonderful peaceful sleep.
As your children grow and your family dynamics change your routine may need to change also. So, stay flexible but keep at it.
The work is worth is believe me.
I would love to here your story. What nighttime routine have you come up with and how it is working out for your family?
Leave me a comment below