Bedtime, in most houses, is greeted with a choir of “Awwwww,” and “Five more minutes?” Many parents desperately wish their children would accept bedtime with a bit more grace and happiness, but are helpless to make it happen. Why not follow these tips to making bedtime a bit more welcomed every day, and restore some peace and harmony to your evenings?
First of all, don’t act stressed-out when bedtime comes along. You need to be calm and relaxed; something that can be difficult when your bedtimes have been particularly fraught in the past. If you need to, spend some time before going up calming down and breathing deeply, focussing on relaxation. This will ensure your child doesn’t pick up on your tension and become tense in response. If he or she feels that you may be worried about bedtime, there may be the added concern of your child believing bedtime is somehow bad for them – you should really aim to be brisk, calm, and happy.
Make sure your child’s bedroom truly belongs to them. As an extension of that, ensure their bed is personalised. Take them to a supermarket and/or a local bedding shop. Or look online for duvet covers, cushions and soft toys of their favourite characters. In an ideal world, make them part of the shopping process, assigning a budget and allowing them to furnish their sleeping space as they please. Soft toys and comfort items should be welcome in their beds, allowing them to feel comfortable and safe in their beds. Even if your child has a duvet, a fleece blanket can help them feel more ensconced as it will conform to their body shape. Pyjamas can also become a part of this; tailor your child’s bedtime experience to their tastes and make going to bed into an exciting adventure!
A bedtime routine can do much more for a harmonious bedtime than you may have expected. Every evening, conform to the same set of actions. Bedtime hugs and kisses come first, then getting into some comfortable, self-chosen pyjamas, washing up and brushing teeth. A bedtime story is essential; don’t underestimate the age at which children stop enjoying these as even older children will benefit from them – on an emotional level and an intellectual one.
Finally, don’t get discouraged. Stick with the same exact bedtime routine every evening, allowing your children to know what to expect and when. Before you know it, they will have settled into the pattern you’ve established!