Sleep is essential for the healthy growth and development of children but sometimes getting your child to bed can be a nightmare. If your home becomes a battleground at bedtime, we have some ideas to minimise the stress and turn your evenings into everyone's favourite part of the day.
Ensure their physical comfort with a comfortable bed, warm quilt and pillow appropriate for their age. Natural fibres such as wool and cotton are brilliant choices for your child's bedding and bedclothes preventing them overheating throughout the night, allowing their small bodies to rejuvenate as they sleep undisturbed. Knowing your child is safe and warm in their bed allows you to concentrate on how to get them there. A consistent nightly routine sets the scene for bed and cues your child to prepare for sleep but repetitive and predictable doesn't have to be boring.
Clean up time - a wonderful habit to develop at a young age is a pre-bedtime clean up. Make it a fun game by turning it in to a scavenger hunt or a competition. Who can get the most toys to the basket to win an extra hug or story?
Bath time - a warm bath before bed relaxes the body preparing it for sleep. Adding some soothing scented essential oil with the bubble bath and dimming the lights can help trigger the body's sleep mechanism.
Story time and reading a book is a lovely way to spend time together at the end of the day and what child doesn't love a story? Even older children will enjoy being read to or taking turns to improve their own reading. Or perhaps dim the lights to play hand puppets and have a go at making up your own stories.
Chat time - a goodnight cuddle and chat before bed is the perfect way to relax. Talking over the day's highlights or low points can calm worries before snuggling down for the night.
Relaxation time - spend a little time practising breathing or relaxation techniques to still the mind and muscles. Gently squeeze and release all the muscles from the head to the toes or simply try taking a few deep breaths and exhaling them slowly.