Top Tips for a Blissful Bedtime
Start winding down the household a couple of hours before bedtime and creating a calm atmosphere.
Include calming activities in the bedtime routine (any activities that involve hand-eye coordination are particularly good) – remember this will vary for each child. Not every child finds bath time calming!! Most importantly, remember to keep calm yourself – we all pick up on other people’s moods and energy and children are particularly attuned to parents’ emotions.
If you stay calm then your child is more likely to be calm too so, if you find yourself becoming anxious or impatient during the bedtime routine, take a few seconds for yourself, take some deep breaths and then go back to the routine.
Make the bedtime routine about connection with your child.
Remember, even if they are only down the hallway from you or even in the same room, bedtime and sleep is a time of extended separation from you which can make children feel anxious. The more you build in connection, the safer your child will feel and the more rest you will both get.
Create your own rituals around bedtime, for example saying good night to the moon and stars, saying one thing you really love about each other, something good that has happened that day and, no matter how the bedtime routine has gone, always end the day on a positive.
You are the parent and ultimately in control of the bedtime routine; however, if you can build in some age/developmentally appropriate choices then your child will feel more ownership of the routine and is more likely to comply with it. It can be as simple as choosing between 2 sets of pyjamas or which story book to read.
This is the key to any successful bedtime routine.
This doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same thing every night but there needs to be consistency around boundaries, what is negotiable and what is not. For example, screen turn off time is non-negotiable but your child is then able to choose what calming activity to do next.
Consistent bedtimes and wake up times, including at weekends and holidays, will also help regulate your child’s body clock.
How have found sleep time during lockdown? Is there anything you would add? Let us know in the comments below!