For most parents, the hardest part of the day is bedtime. The constant battle to crawl into your bed or stay up and watch TV is one that all children challenge us with from time to time, but it shouldn't start to control your evenings entirely. From about 12 months to 5 years old, children need at least 11 hours of sleep at night with naps during the day. Without regular sleep patterns or not enough sleep this can start to effect their health, growth and even brain development. Here at Daisy Baby we have put together a list of tips to help your toddler or young child get enough sleep, so you too can receive some well deserved rest.
1. Create A Bedtime Routine
With the busy lives that most of us lead, taking the time to create a routine can be difficult. This however is an essential step in how to get children to sleep. Creating a relaxing atmosphere helps to calm your child down and understand that when these series of events happen, then the day has ended. The best place to start is to create a soothing bath and dress your little one into their pyjamas. Follow this with a bedtime story and after the bedtime story is finished, say goodnight calmly and leave the room. Continuing with this routine everyday will help your child into a pattern where they feel comfortable.
2. Put Them Back Into Their Own Bed
It can be tempting to let your child sneak their way into your bed as a means of comforting them, but this can soon become a habit of which you can't break them of. When your little one gets out of their bed, simply pick them up and place them back into their own bed. Continue to do this repeatedly until they understand that they must stay in their own room. This will be a challenge at first but will be worth it.
3. Keep An Eye On Their Diet
Eating sugary foods before bedtime could be a key factor in keeping your child awake. Make sure that treats such as chocolate and sweets are given in the late afternoon rather than the evening to ensure that this doesn't effect sleep.
4. Turn Off The TV
TV is a stimulant that creates an excitable atmosphere and watching it just before bedtime will undoubtedly cause a restless night. Ensure that the TV is turned off at least an hour before bedtime to allow your child to wind down for the day and relax.
5. Talk In A Soothing Tone Leading Up To Bedtime
Talking in a soothing tone will help to calm down any situation and not excite your child. No matter how frustrated you are, raising your voice will only worsen the issue and often make your child rebel against bedtime more.
6. Make Sure You Give Praise
If your child improves, for example they only get out of bed once, then make sure you praise them the next day. This gives them a purpose and helps them to realise that sleep is something that is rewarded. If they haven't done so well, don't scold, instead remind them of what is expected of them next bedtime. To help things along even more, why not create a reward chart so they can physically see their progress.
7. Consistency Is The Key
No matter what your child's difficultly in sleeping, remember to not give up hope. Consistency is the key to ensuring that bedtime is no longer a struggle and instead supplies you with some much needed time to relax.