Bedtime shenanigans are an expected parenting challenge to face head on. It makes sense that as your child grow older and more curious, they will want to stay up with you instead of go to bed early!
First it’s getting more hugs and kisses. And then there’s major toy emergencies that NEED to be addressed right now! Add in a little potty urges… and thirst… and fear… and… and.. and…!
If this is your situation, I don’t have to tell you how frustrating it is! But, fear not, there is a way out if you are open to some different options.
Here are 3 of the biggest tricks I’ve used to help make bedtime smooth and painless, even when my tots want to do everything but sleep! Some of these take a little time to establish the routine or to see the results, so keep this in mind when you try it with your kids. Consistency is going to be your best friend on this one!
So without further ado….
3 tricks to making bedtime smoother
#1 – Establish a solid, doable routine
Even if your schedules are busy and not always the same every night, establish a solid step by step routine for your kids for getting ready for bed.
Kids need and thrive with a healthy level of structure in their day. Structure helps them discover their comfort zone and learn how to thrive within those boundaries. Solid routines help your child know clearly what to do so they can feel confident to do these things on their own.
For example, a good bedtime routine could be something like:
- First, change into PJ’s
- Second, brush teeth.
- Third, 15-minutes of wind down time – playing on a tablet, cuddling while watching a short show, playing quietly in their room, or reading a book independently
- Tuck in time
- Bedtime story
- Hugs and kisses
- Lights out
Find a routine that best fits with your schedule and personalities. Talk about it with your kids and let them know the flow of the routine. Then be diligent about enforcing it until it becomes a habit.
I would say consistently stick to this routine for at least one week (possible two, depending on how well you stick to the routine) before changing anything. Whenever you start a new routine, it can take a while to get the kids up to speed, so expect the first week to two weeks to need a little more time and patience.
Once the routine is established, you are good to go!
#2 – Playing soft music or using a soft noise maker
I love music, so I try to incorporate it into everything I do.
Playing soft music at night can help your kids drift off to sleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Here some music picking tips:
- Classical, lullaby, or mediation/zen music are top choices.
- Pick music without lyrics
- No upbeat or fast music. Save that music for play time!
#3 – No distraction environment
Keep your child’s room focused on sleeping and resting by taking out the distractions!
If your child has toys or electronics in their room, make sure part of your routine is turning everything off and putting everything away. Make sure these distractions are not within reaching distance of your child so they won’t be tempted to play with them while they’re fighting sleep.
This will also help your child to go back to sleep if they wake up in the middle of the night.
Stuffed animals can become security items for your child, but they can also become distractions.
Create a firm boundary with your child that if they use their lovie in an inappropriate way like using them to play instead of sleep, the animal will go with the other toys. If they would like to sleep with their lovie, they will have to make sure their animal tucks in and sleeps just like them.
Generally speaking, most of the kids figure if out right away and only need this enforced a few times. In my experience, making sure their lovie is quiet helps reinforce their own bedtime routine. It’s a win-win!
Give these tricks a try and see what happens!
Look out for more tips and tricks that I’ve got up my sleeve. 🙂
As always, thank you for joining me on this journey!
See you at the next step!