14 March 2016

Is Bedtime A Nightmare For Your Family?

So, it’s your little one’s bedtime. You read them a story, kiss them on the forehead, tuck them up and switch the light off. Then they drop off to dreamland, where they stay until the morning, bright and ready for the day ahead. Ha! Does that sound like your house? Your kids? No? Maybe I should have started that with “Once upon a  time,” because for many people, it’s about as real as a fairy tale. Although it should be a time that is peaceful and serene, the truth is often very, very different.

Photo Credit: Flickr

More parents than you might realize dread their kids bedtimes. Instead of it being the start of their own evening, a time for themselves it can mark the beginning of hours of trouble. Whether you are trying to get stuff done, or only attempting to have sometime to yourself, bedtime is important. Getting them in there, and staying there can be a complete nightmare. When your child doesn’t sleep well, it usually means you won’t either. And sleep deprivation is horrible and means you’re always tired. Looking after a family is a lot of work at the best of times, and if you’re not firing on all cylinders, it can make life even harder.

If this sounds like you, then what can you do?

Well, the good news is, it will pass eventually. By the time, kids start school they will usually be sleeping through the night and have a reasonable length of shut eye. That may seem impossible far off if you're having these problems with a toddler, but there is light at the end of the tunnel! Usually, though, it’ll happen long before that, so don’t worry too much. It’s easy to say that when you’ve not been up half the night! But it WILL pass. Just hold on to that thought, even if it doesn't seem much comfort yet.

Routine and consistency are vital when it comes to getting your kids to bed. Once your children know the drill, then their brain will help by sending them signals that yes, it really is time for them to go to the land of nod. Start winding down a couple of hours before you want them to go to bed. Try and make sure there’s no television or gadgets with blue light at this time. We’re talking phones, tablets and consoles, too. Blue light is incredibly detrimental to REM sleep and plays havoc with our circadian rhythms. Help them relax with music, a splash and soak with a gentle baby bubble bath is a good way to get them ready to go to bed. The temperature drop to the body when getting out a both can trigger the body into sleep mode.
Photo Credit: Flickr
Read your little one a story and talk to them about their day. Keep the lights dimmed and talk in soft, soothing tones. If your child is scared of the dark, you can get all sorts of child-friendly night lights. These can help alleviate any fears. It may take a while for you to get the routine working, but if you remain consistent and maintain boundaries, you’ll find success. Just be patient. It’ll be worth it in the end!

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.

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