No child likes being told it’s bedtime- in fact, these are the words that most kids absolutely dread! When you’re young, all you want is the freedom to stay up and have fun. But as parents, we of course know that this isn’t what’s best and that sleep absolutely has to be a priority for kids to grow and thrive. If you’re struggling with bedtime and your kids are driving you insane each evening, here are a few things to try.
Tire Them Out During The Day
Government guidelines suggest that kids need around an hour of moderate to vigorous activity every day to keep them fit and healthy. And as a bonus, kids who are tired out are likely to sleep far better at night. Take them to the park after school where they can run around and burn off energy if you bring bikes, a ball or a frisbee they’re sure to wear themselves out. Alternatively, you could sign them up for active hobbies, swimming and other sports classes will be so much fun it won’t even feel like a workout. They’ll get their recommended amount of exercise and bedtime is likely to go that bit smoother.
We have started taking to the girls to our local big football field most afternoons, just before dinner. They come home, eat all of their food because all that running around also makes them hungry), and they fall asleep quickly with nice full tummies.
Stick to a Bedtime Routine
If you have a routine that you stick to every evening, your child knows that bedtime is coming and is likely to be more accepting. If they’re having fun in the middle of a game and bedtime is announced seemingly out of the blue, you’re probably going to have a tantrum on your hands. If your child knows that after homework and a bath comes supper, a story and bed for example you’re likely to have a much easier time. It’s worth giving kids a warning that bedtime is approaching for this reason since younger children will find it difficult to grasp how long five or ten minutes is, you could say ‘it’s bedtime after this show’ or use another measurement which they will understand.
Buy The Comfiest Bed Possible
Since children are so light, it can be tempting to think they don’t need a particularly expensive mattress. But kids growing bodies need more support than you might think, and a decent mattress and bed is necessary for this. Luxury brands like John Ryan by Design will provide comfort and quality that will last for years and ensure your little one is getting the best night’s rest possible. Comfy bedding is a must too, high-quality cotton will be soft to the touch and help to regulate temperature. Hypo allergenic duvets and pillows will be free of chemicals and materials that can cause a reaction in some people. Perfect for kids who are more vulnerable to these things.
If your child still occasionally wets the bed, be sure to use a protective sheet. These have come a long way in recent years and are no longer the noisy, plasticky things they once were. In fact they look a lot like a normal sheet but will protect the expensive mattress in case of an accident. We always make sure there is a double-up of these sheets, covering the full length of the bed. It’s surprising how far urine (and even sick!) can spread, if they are having an ‘off’ day. We also have mattresses that have clever, thick covers that easily zip on and off.
Try Using a Nightlight and Blackout Blinds
Sleeping on their own in their own room can be scary for some children. If bedtime is a nightmare for you because they are too scared to sleep in the dark and keep getting up, how about trying out a nightlight? The soft glow shouldn’t keep them awake, and it can light up the room just enough so that the dark isn’t scary. You can buy nightlights which switch off after a certain amount of time too, so once they’ve drifted off, you don’t have to creep into their room to turn off the light and risk waking them.
A gentle nightlight won’t wake yur child but the slightest ray of daylight can. If you struggle to get your child down at night, or they wake early during the summer months it could be down to sunlight entering their room. We purchased some blackout blinds from Argos (only cheap ones!) and they have worked wonders. Day light triggers the body to produce chemicals, which wakes the body up.
Kids can be incredibly frustrating- these little people have big personalities and aren’t afraid to tell you if they’re unhappy. Kids will act out at times, you might be up and down the stairs multiple times some nights and feel at the end of your tether. But stay patient, once they know they won’t get a reaction from you, they might be less inclined to try it.
Are you currently dealing with any bedtime dramas or dilemmas? What tips would you give to parents going through the same thing?