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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

“Lights Out”: Creating a Bedtime Routine for Kids

“Lights Out”: Creating a Bedtime Routine for Kids

Getting the kids into a good bedtime routine can sometimes prove to be a true challenge — especially when they’re going through those ‘difficult’ phases. Establishing a good bedtime routine early on is really important, and not only because it’s proven that children who do not get enough sleep do not develop properly or learn well, but because you are actually doing yourself a favor! If your children get enough sleep, they’re more likely to be sweet-tempered and happier in their daily lives — and that means that you don’t have to deal with grumpy, tearful tantrums on a regular basis!

There are a few simple things you can do to make sure your kids get the sleep they need, the easiest of which is making sure they’ve got comfortable bedding, including some decent duvet covers. There’s nothing like a freshly washed, soft duvet to lure even the most stubborn of kids into a pleasant slumber.

One way to make sure that your kids stick to a bedtime routine is persistence. Sticking to the plan 90 percent of the time is important, which means that the occasional night out or staying up late is permitted, but it has to remain something exclusive and exciting. The rest of the time ensure that your child has a safe, secure place to sleep and settle into a steady bedtime routine.

The key to the routine is regularity and repetition. Begin with bathing and brushing their teeth, followed by popping their pajamas on and straight under the duvet. Reading a story might be boring for you, but look on it as chance to bond with your children rather than an onerous task. Kids love repetition: it gives them a sense of security, so start your routine with a book you like to read too! You don’t have to read them a story, you can make up a tale, asking for their input as you go along or you can sing them a song or recite a favorite poem — or even simply sit and chat to them for a few minutes about how their day has been!

Enforcing bedtime is, at first, sure to be tricky as your children will test their boundaries, pushing to see how many times you will come in, bring them a glass of water or take them to the toilet before you put your foot down. Save yourself the hassle by having a zero tolerance for these and running through a little checklist before turning the light out. Something like “Do you have a glass of water? Do you need the loo? Are you nice and sleepy? Right, then off to sleep!” followed by a quick kiss goodnight and tuck-in of the duvet covers, should signal the end of the day to them. You’ll find that it takes a relatively short time for the children to get used to falling asleep at that time, and before long, bedtime will become a pure pleasure for everyone concerned. 

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