By Marlene Kubicka
Are your kids the little monsters at bedtime, rather than the ones supposedly hiding in the closet? If you’re struggling with getting your children to sleep, try these helpful tips to reduce everyone’s stress.
Cut out the bedtime snack. Avoid big meals, and stay away from anything containing caffeine less than six hours before lights-out.
A glass of warm milk might help.
Make bedtime special. When children feel loved, they tend to relax. A predictable bedtime routine that includes cuddling up with you for a story and a chat is likely to calm your little one, and help her/him drift off to dreamland more peacefully.
Avoid singing or rocking. Give your children a favourite blanket or stuffed animal to fall asleep with. If your kids then wake in the night, they won’t need you to sing or rock them back to sleep.
Empower. Give your children tools to overcome their worries. These might include a flashlight, a spray bottle filled with “monster spray” or a large stuffed animal for protection.
Lights out. The healthiest way to sleep is in complete darkness. Put a night light in the hallway and turn it off once they’re asleep.
Power down. Shut off computers, televisions, tablets and cellphones (and the light they emit) to reduce stimulation.
Set regular bedtimes. Consistency is key. A routine helps young children develop a rhythm for sleep and waking.