Getting the Sleep You (and Your Family) Needs
Bedtime can be a battle, but it's essential your kids get the sleep they need. Not only are tired children cranky, but they also don't perform as well in school.
Here are some sleep strategies for you and your family.
Have a Routine. Not only do kids like knowing what to expect (even if they'll never admit it), their bodies want routines, too. By doing the same soothing activities every night, your child's body will start to relax itself in preparation for bedtime.
Start the routine at least an hour before you want your child in bed. Bath time, stories, prayer/meditation and reflection time - these are all soothing activities that contribute to a successful bedtime routine.
Note: Bedtime routines aren't just for little kids. Your teens need them and so do you. Make sure you and your teens start to wind down about an hour before bedtime with a good book, a mug of hot chocolate, or another soothing activity.
Turn Off Distractions and Electronics. Flashing screens and graphics can overstimulate your child's brain (and yours). When bedtime routine starts, turn off the computer, the TV, and the smartphone and let everyone's brain take a break.
It's especially important that your teen not sleep with her phone and text friends all night. She most likely won't take a break from her phone unless you make her do so.
Ease Into Change. As your child approaches the preschool years, he will inevitably be afraid to sleep alone in their room and may try to climb into your bed - which means that nobody sleeps.
After putting your child to bed, promise that you'll check in on him in a few minutes - and then keep that promise. Or go to comfort your child when she is scared, but wait progressively longer each time to check in. You'll be surprised at how your child learns to soothe herself without immediate intervention from you.
Affirm Good Sleeping Behavior. Don't just stop at a chore chart - create a family sleep chart and give stickers or other rewards when your child stays in her own bed or goes to bed on time.