5 Ways to Make Bedtime Better
Posted: May 20, 2022
"I used to think I was a patient person, but then my kid got out of bed for the eleventh time and asked why ducks don’t have arms."
After a long day, no parent wants to start the battle of bedtime with their little one. For some, like me, bedtime can even be a trigger to their mental health because it’s become so stressful. Kids don’t intentionally want to drive you crazy during the bedtime process, but man can it feel like it!
Parents and kids want the day to end on a positive note so let’s focus on simplicity and family connection while we put our children to bed. Instead of dreading the bedtime circus, try one (or all) of these 5 tips to make bedtime a little easier.
Create a bedtime routine
This is the number one tip for a successful bedtime with children, especially younger kids. Studies have shown that routine gives infants and toddlers a sense of stability and security. Isn’t that exactly what you want your kids to feel at bedtime?! Make sure mom, dad and child know what is expected so everyone is on the same page. That being said, don’t feel discouraged if you have to adjust the schedule–for my toddler we change our routine every couple of months or so when the schedule becomes less effective.
Short bedtime stories
Every child will use the opportunity to their advantage if given free reign to choose a book on their own for bedtime. Inevitably, they will hand you the longest story they could find! Instead, provide them two or three book options you’ve preselected. This allows you to only include short stories and for them to feel like they are in control. Enjoy the time to cuddle and read together
For a list of short bedtime stories, check here>>
This advice can be easier said than done, but it’s so important to establish! If you have a child that will ask for a thousand drinks of water before bedtime or just one more "tuck in" then this will be difficult at first but will make bedtime easier in the long run. Your child needs to know when enough is enough and it’s your job to stick to it! Let them know this is the "last time" and when they ask again don’t give in. Eventually, they’ll know the boundary and stop.
Turn off the stimulants
If your kid is playing on his tablet right before bedtime, don’t expect he’ll be ready to rest easily. Using electronics before bedtime tends to delay the time one may get to sleep, reducing their sleep time in general. If electronics are part of your daily schedule, make sure it’s far away enough from bedtime so there is less disruption. No phones, tablets, tv, games etc. before bed! A calming evening environment invites a calming bedtime.
If bedtime is a serious struggle, you may want to consider that an easier bedtime does not begin when it gets dark. I mean, you need to be mindful of what happens during the day that might affect the night. Is your child getting enough exercise so she is actually tired at bedtime? Are you dealing with an overtired toddler that bedtime needs to be moved up earlier? Are nap times too long during the day? Did your preteen drink a gallon of caffeine during the afternoon? Help yourself out at bedtime but be conscious of daytime decisions.
When the day is done, ideally, bedtime should be a time to wind down, reflect on the day, feel connected to each other and remind one another that they are loved and excited to spend another day together! It may take a little work but bedtime can become easier for everyone by following these 5 pieces of advice.
Jenn writes at her blog healthyhappyimpactful.com. She’s a mom of three looking to learn and grow. Check it out if you love helpful tips on health, family, and personal growth.