How to Send Children to Bed Stress-Free
Do your kids seem to find all their energy right before bedtime? If so, you are not alone.
At the end of each day, parents and caregivers have the task of getting the kids to bed. But often it seems like the little ones are not even close to being tired and that you will never get them to bed. Thankfully, there are some pro tips you can follow to help take the stress out of bedtime.
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1. Prepare for sleep during the day
Children sleep well at night when their needs have been met during the day. Daily outings, activities and an all-round fulfilling day will promote a restful sleep. Parents and babysitters should balance active and rest periods in the daily schedule. Rest periods do not necessarily mean sleep. Even quiet minutes with a favourite book or cuddly toys can recharge a child’s energy levels.
Bedtime should begin about an hour before falling asleep. The body needs a certain amount of time to shut down and this does not necessarily happen in bed. Exciting activities before bedtime should be avoided and any stressful topics should be discussed earlier in the day.
2. Talk with creches and carers
While some parents would like their child’s creche to adopt the strategies that they use at home for their child’s sleep, this is not always possible. However, you can still discuss it with the educators. For example, children who need a lot of rest before they fall asleep can be put down earlier. Parents shouldn’t underestimate the herding effect. Kids like to participate when everyone joins in, so once the first children start drifting off, it is likely that the others will follow.
Discuss your child’s sleep routine with their babysitter. Whether it is a milk bottle or specific cuddly toy, let the babysitter know what they should do when putting your little one down for a sleep. All caregivers in your child’s world should be informed about their sleep habits and times.
3. Introduce evening rituals
Pre-bedtime tasks should always be followed so as not to confuse the child. However, it is okay for routines to differ between the various supervisors. Children can usually tell the difference between the bedtime rituals of kindergarten and home, between grandma and mom or dad or their babysitter. When babysitters sing the same song as the parents, it can seem more like a copy of someone who is not actually there. That’s why it is often better for caregivers to create their own bedtime ritual.
4. Make sleeping away from home easier
Usually, if a familiar person such as a parent or babysitter is present, there won’t be too many problems falling asleep. However, children in unfamiliar surroundings may need more help if their parents are not nearby. The less intimate the surroundings, the more accompaniment children will need to sleep. This is where aids such as a favourite cuddly toy or sleeping blanket will help.
5. Create the perfect sleeping environment
The basis for a healthy sleep routine for children and babies is a quiet and darkened sleeping environment. TVs, computers, tablets and mobile phones should not be in the room where children sleep. Using the devices negatively affects sleep. Also, the blue light that is emitted from the screens suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the chemical needed to fall asleep.
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