Hands up who’d like some time to wind down in the evenings and not be up and down the stairs every 5 minutes settling children?! Hands up who’d like more sleep?! You’re not alone. We’ve definitely been there too. So, if you are exhausted by bedtimes in your home, then this blog is for you!
Bedtime is often one of those things that we all just keep trying to suss out, and battle through and it’s especially an area that’s problematic for families with young children. However, while you might be expecting a few sleepless nights with a young baby, it often comes as a bit of a shock when – as your child gets older – this issue doesn’t go away. If you don’t nail bedtimes, things can become stressful and put unnecessary strain on the whole family.
Every member of the family needs their beauty sleep in order to function effectively during the day and stay healthy, so if you are having trouble getting your child to sleep and stay asleep, (AKA giving everyone a proper night’s sleep) hopefully you’ll find a gem in the tips below to win some Zzzz’s.
1.) Full tummies
Sounds obvious, right? Sometimes though, I think we forget that children need lots of fuel. We tend to fall into a routine of feeding them when we eat, or when we think they should be eating. However, with the calories they’re burning, it’s surprising how quickly those little tummies empty!
Children are very unlikely to fall asleep easily – let alone sleep well – if they are hungry. Introducing a pre-bedtime protein-rich snack can help encourage a longer period of sleep. Opt for healthy snacks like bananas, an oat cake or a small bowl of warm porridge; sometimes even a cup of warm milk is filling enough.
2.) Keep attention positive
It can be very hard to balance life as a parent, with demands pulling us in every direction possible. We get it. Sometimes the day flies by and before we know it bedtime has come around. In between all the housework/running a business/feeding people, it isn’t always easy to squeeze in all the one-to-one attention with our children as we’d like. (Urgh, the mum guilt!)
You might have noticed your child dragging out bedtime; all of a sudden, they have a problem and need your attention:. “Just one more story”, “Can I have a snack?”, “I need a different toy”…Sound familiar?! Ok, so when you’re exhausted and can almost hear the Sauvignon downstairs screaming your name you need to try and stay calm. Take a deep breath. Know that your child is going out of their way to keep you with them just that little bit longer, purely because they love being with you. Positive vibes are essential.
To alleviate this prolonged bedtime ridiculousness, try to increase the amount of positive time you spend with your child during the day. Block out a couple of short sessions throughout the day to dedicate to some one-to-one time. You’ll fill their cup with love (and yours!) and they hopefully won’t be so needy at bedtime, making it an altogether more peaceful affair.
3.) Give bedtime notice
In the run up to bedtime, give your child cues that their time with you and doing activities is coming to an end for the day. Children need and love reassurance about routines and what is going to happen. An example of sewing the bedtime seed: “After tea we’re going to play some puzzles and then we’ll head up to bed.”
Using this strategy there are no surprises sprung on children, and you can say things like, “Remember when I told you bedtime was 5 minutes away, well now it’s time to go for our bath.” Kids have very little concept of time, so lots of little reminders really help them.
4.) Routines work
Creating a familiar routine at bedtime helps to trigger all of the right signals that will make bedtime a great deal easier for you and your child. Develop a routine that suits you and your family and then stick to it and before long everyone will be a lot happier and a lot more awake during the daytime. Consistency is key!
Help your child to wind down and relax, ready for bed, by making your child’s last hour of the day screen free. By now you’ve probably got a routine in place, but if you haven’t give it a try. Routines help make children feel safe and secure. A warm bath, followed by cuddles and a calming bedtime story are great ways to help your child to feel blissfully sleepy and relaxed!
5.) Aromatherapy Oils
Aromatherapy can help with sleep, and if you haven’t tried it we’d highly recommend giving essential oils a go! Sweet dreams lie ahead…
For babies and toddlers, choose gentle oils like Lavender, Geranium and Roman Chamomile. As your child grows, the range of oils you can use with them will gradually expand, like Peppermint and Frankincense.
There are a few ways you can incorporate essential oils into your bedtime routine to promote sleep:
We recommend trying all of these and seeing if they work for our child…and for you. Once you’ve got them into a calming routine, and they are settling quicker and waking less; there’s nothing more relaxing than a hot bath with essential oils for you to lie in and you can finally enjoy that Sauvignon Blanc you’ve heard calling your name – in peace!
Lemonjelly love to hear when ideas we’ve suggested have been tried out, so let us know if these have bedtime tips have worked for your family.
Lemonjelly Childcare Solutions