How to Make Childrens Bedtime the best 20 Minutes of the Day

Having children who drift off into peaceful slumber quickly after being put to bed may be only a dream for some parents who struggle with children regularly to get them to go to sleep. Getting children to go to sleep soon after being put to bed need not be a nightly battle. There are ways that your children’s bedtime can be without any struggles and will result in both children and parents feeling positive about bedtime.

Establish a routine early on

One of the most difficult challenges in raising children is trying to get them into a set routine if they are not used to one. The best way to get children to bed using a routine is to start them out on a routine at a very young age. When children are toddler-age, they are too old to be sleeping with their bed in their parents’ bedroom. While toddlers and even older children may wander into the parents’ bed either because a bad dream or loud noise scared them or due to being ill and wanting to be next to mommy or daddy, this should never be the norm. Therefore it is imperative for parents to establish a set routine for their children’s bedtime as early as possible. There are reasons for setting up a nursery when baby is born. It does no good to purchase all the necessities and have the nursery set up if parents are going to give in when the child learns that a little whining or complaining is all that is necessary to not have to sleep in his or her own bed or to stay up longer.

Set a routine and stick to it. Of course there will be an occasional exception, such as holidays or perhaps a late family night out, but other than that, failing to stick to a routine for children’s bedtime is asking for trouble.

Set a proper bedtime according to the child’s age. Certainly the 15 year-old will probably not have the same bedtime as the three year old. As explained by Parents Magazine in ‘How to Develop Bedtime Routines,’ the routine will “evolve and change as your child grows, but the basics remain the same.” However, when there has been a routine established from infancy, both the three year old and fifteen year old will know there are no battles to be fought over bedtime.

An evening bath will indicate that the day has come to an end and time for bed. When pajamas are put on after the bath, this further indicates bedtime. Younger children may want to have a story read to them. Older children may want to discuss something that happened during the day. Once conversations are over and stories are read, it is time for lights out. Younger children may be fearful of being in a darkened room with the door closed. So a favorite stuffed animal or doll to snuggle up with and the bedroom light being turned out, but enough light in the hallway to reassure them or provide light to get to the restroom during the night will suffice. Older children should be made to turn off all their electronic devices and not be permitted to make or accept cell phone calls near or after bedtime. Having a routine that has been started at an early age will ensure that children and parents are calm and prepared for bedtime on a regular basis.

Never have serious discussions or arguments in front of children near bedtime

Some parents may not think their children are aware of or worry about grown-up issues, but even younger children know when mommy and daddy are not getting along. Shouting matches near or after a child’s bedtime are not going to help a child to fall asleep. Discussions regarding serious financial issues or job loss will make children worry and they will be unable to sleep. Discussions amongst parents regarding other family members, friends or neighbors should not be held in the presence of the children near their bedtime.

Children hear more than some adults may adults think they do. When children sense that their parents are worried, the children will worry too. This may lead to children who are restless and unable to fall asleep in a reasonable amount of time at night. Save adult conversations for when the children are not present and refrain from havinmg such conversations at or near bedtime.

Make bedtime a happy time

When children feel that their parents are happy then they will most likely feel happy too. Make bedtime a fun time. Give your children a great compliment near bedtime or when tucking them in. Let them know what a great day you had and how much you enjoyed spending it with them. Laugh; after all, it is said to be the best medicine. It may be just the medicine needed for your child and you to fall into a restful sleep. When children are confident and happy, they may be more apt to fall into a peaceful slumber.

Spending time arguing with children to get them to go to be does not result in children that are willing to go to bed. It results in children and parents who are frustrated and each determined to win the bedtime battle. When bedtime routines are set when a child is young, the child learns early-on that bedtime is a time to unwind from the day, go to bed and go to sleep, in anticipation for a good day tomorrow. But if parents wait until a child is older to try to establish a routine or parents have repeatedly failed to stick to the routine, there are likely to be many bedtime battles. If parents stick to a bedtime routine, have peaceful, normal conversations or use their quiet-voice when talking to each other and do not discuss issues that may worry the children, there is likely to be a peaceful end of the day for the entire family. Bedtime may not only be the best 20 minutes of the day for parents, but for children as well.