For many kids (and their exasperated parents!), bed time is their least favourite time of day and as such, they can be particularly cunning at putting it off. Fortunately, there are ways to make bedtime run a little smoother and help your little night owl stay in bed and get to sleep.
- Create a bedtime routine and stick to it – This will help kids know that once a certain time of night arrives, it is time to start thinking about sleep. A bedtime routine could involve a shower or bath, brushing teeth, getting into pyjamas and reading a story, all of which will signal that it’s time to snooze.
- Make sure their bed and bedroom is comfortable – Your kids will be more likely to want to get into bed and go to sleep if their sleeping quarters are inviting and comfortable. You could let them pick out their favourite coloured sheets or allow them to snuggle their favourite soft toy or blanket. If they are afraid of something then ease their fears by checking the cupboards and under the bed and leaving a night light on to make them feel safe.
- Be consistent – If your little one leaves their bed to check out what they are missing out on in the living room, often disguised as “I need a drink,” “I’m hungry” or “I need to say goodnight to my shoes”, calmly bring them back to bed without saying anything. They should eventually get the message!
- Ensure they are actually tired – Watching TV or playing computer games before bed is definitely not conducive to sleeping and can make kids awake and alert way past their bedtime. It takes time for the body to wind down after a busy day playing so after dinner, transition to quiet activities like puzzles, drawing or chatting about the day. This way they’ll be ready for sleep when the time comes. You could also try a natural calming sleep remedy if they are particularly energetic or restless.