6 Ways to Make Bedtime Go More Smoothly
Contributors: Jen deWeen (R.N.) • Dawne Yusi (M. Ed.) • Lily Law
Who said putting your kids to sleep has to be filled with kicking and screaming? Bedtime can be fun for both you and your kiddo. No more tantrums and frustrated sighs, only smooth sailing bedtimes from now on. These tips on how to make bedtime go more smoothly will bring you and your kids even closer, create opportunities for mental & emotional development, and foster self confidence.
With a combination of creativity, calmness, and fun, these tips are sure to make that special time even more enhancing. Here are some ideas to create a smooth and enjoyable bedtime with your kids:
Create an Enhancing Bedtime Routine
Routines give kids comfort by creating boundaries and familiarity. Bedtime does not need to be rigid, but if you choose a few things to do every night before bed, your kids will know what to expect and what's expected of them. By approaching your routine with love and creativity, your kids might actually look forward to bedtime!
Teach Self Care
Kids deserve to be pampered too. Draw a special bath for your child and add a few drops of lavender essential oil for an even more calming experience. No matter your child’s age, the warm water of a bath will calm and soothe them while they play and wind down.
Superheroes need strong teeth to save the world, and who ever heard of a dinosaur with a cavity? Get silly and imagine you are getting those super teeth or dinosaur chompers ready for bed. Brushing your own teeth while your child brushes theirs can give even the most tentative brushers that extra incentive to join in on the fun. If your kids lack the patience to get every chomper nice and clean, try humming a favorite song or playing a silly game to keep them brushing a little longer.
Promote Restful Sleep
Reading with your kids at bedtime shows them the importance you place on reading. If your child is old enough to read, take turns reading a book to each other. If your child isn’t reading yet, create the opportunity for them to story-tell with you by predicting what’s going to happen next. This will encourage your child to get into a routine of reading before bed. While screens tend to stimulate the brain, reading a book before bed calms the mind and prepares your child’s body for a restful night of sleep.
Establish Smooth Transitions
Does your child have a fear of the dark or anxiety about going to sleep? Create a positive transition to turning off the lights; make shadow puppets on the wall and pretend they are your child’s favorite characters. Get your child in on the fun by acting out a real life scenario or an imaginary story together. Keep it light and fun to make the dark room more enhancing for your child.
Reflect on the Day Together
Create a very special moment between you and your child by reflecting on your day together. Ask them open-ended questions, listen, and connect. Kids may open up about their hopes and fears in this safe, calming environment. Be vulnerable with your kids and share your highs and lows from the day; this creates a space for them to share openly. What an incredible opportunity to grow closer to your child and show them that you care about what’s going on in their lives.