Let’s be honest, after a long day most of us really look forward putting our kids to bed. We have been working/parenting all day and could really use a break followed by a good nights sleep. However, kids and bedtime typically don’t mix, and we are willing to bet that at least once in your life you have fought the battle of bedtime with your kids. Putting your kids to bed doesn’t have to be such and battle and believe it or not, you can make bedtime fun for the whole family. The goal is to create a calming routine, that not only bonds you with your kids but also helps wind them down.
Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help put an end to the bedtime battles and make the nighttime routine more enjoyable for the whole family:
1. Do the Hard Stuff First – After dinner get your kids washed up, in their pajamas, with their teeth brushed and flossed. It might be a good idea to do this downstairs or away from the bedroom so your kids know bedtime isn’t yet. It is all about starting the routine early so you can get more done without a battle. Make sure your kids know that they need to do this before they enjoy any other nighttime activities like watching a show or playing games.
2. Offer Choices – Once you’ve got the basics, offer your child some choices so they feel involved in the bedtime ritual. Ask them what it is they want to do tonight and let them choose what they like best. One tip is to keep their choices contained so they are not overwhelmed.
3. Dim the Lights – Winding down is all part of a process and dimming the lights after dinner will help your family slow down and prepare for bed.
4. Turn on the Music – Soft and slow music can actually soothe a child before bed and helps provides a comforting atmosphere as they transition into sleep.
5. Engage in Gentle Play – Once your child is settled in their bed, feel free to cuddle with them and take turns creating a story or singing a favorite song.
6. Bedtime Snack – Just about everyone loves a snack before bed, and you can incorporate this into your child’s bedtime routine. Prepare a special snack ahead of time and make sure your child knows they need to be ready for bed to receive it.
7. Explore New Stories Together – Regularly purchase or check out new books from your local library and let your child pick the books (with your guidance of course). You will find that they are extra excited to read their own selections and this is a great incentive to get them ready for bed.