Sleep training your kids is one of the tough parts of being a parent. We all know adequate sleep is very important for proper functioning of the mind and body both. Inadequate sleep leads to irritability, attention difficulties and behavioural issues. The kids feel sleepy the entire next day in school and feel lazy and lethargic. Thus, it becomes necessary to get them to sleep on time (especially on school nights) and get a good quality 8 to 10 hour sleep.
Though this may not sound easy, but following a regular bedtime ritual and schedule can be very helpful and fruitful. Setting & maintaining good sleep habits helps our kids to fall asleep. stay asleep and wake up rested and refreshed. Now every child is different and so is every family. So, there is no soecific routine to be followed by everyone. The main focus should be on setting up a routine for your family and following it/ sticking to it every night, even on weekends/ no school nights/ holidays.
Here are some ways that we follow as a family, and which have been working well for us.
The first and foremost rule is to set a specific sleeping time and waking up time. And it should be followed by everyone and that too everyday. Even on weekends and holidays.
It is very important that you and your partner work as a team. From deciding on their bedtime rituals to putting the kids to bed, it should be a team work. In fact, you should even include the kids while setting up a routine for them. Like me and my husbands take turns with putting the kids to bed. We take charge of one child each.
TIME- TABLE & ROUTINE
This is something that works best when it comes to kids. Kids love a set routine and function well in one. Following a consistent routine has been found to be helpful in children with sleep troubles. It helps a child to learn to be sleepy. As I said every family is different and can have a different routine. But the common steps that need to be followed are brushing their teeth, having a nice bath/ just wash your hands feet and face, apply a nice moisturizer, change into your PJ’s, and off to bed. In addition, always dim the room lights to create the perfect sleep surrounding. So, whatever you choose to follow, should be short (not more than half an hour) and should end when its time to doze off.
BED TIME = SPECIAL TIME
It is of utmost importance that children think of bed time as happy time. Bed time should be fun and easy. Try and make bed time as stress free as possible. Read them a book, or cook up a fictional one; you can try singing to them (do not worry if you are a bad singer, your kids are going to love it anyway. Except once I remember my elder one started crying when her dad sang for her…), or even play some soothing/ relaxing music. Coming to us, it is usually either of us reading a story for her. Sometimes I even make use of this mother- daughter time to discuss few things with her. All of this helps the children to associate bedtime/ bedroom with goof and happy feelings and gives them a sense of security.
NIGHT WEAR & ROOM TEMPERATURE
Night wear should be soft, should allow freedom of movement (my daughter rotates like the clock hands) and should be breathable. Choose the nightwear according to the weather. Thicker ones with sweaters for winters and thinner ones for summers. But summer ones should be thick enough to protect them from the air conditioning (you know how kids remove their sheets off). In addition i always make them wear socks in winters (for obvious reasons) and in summers when sleeping with the AC on. Also make sure that the room temperature is adjusted to be comfortable for the child.
SOMETHING TO HOLD ON TO
Initially sleeping in the separate room can make your child anxious. Sometimes it might even lead to separation anxiety. This can be eased out by letting the child hold on to a favourite toy, pillow or anything that makes them calm. I remember making my mama run to my nani’s house at 11 PM to get my favourite saree of hers to sleep at night. Since that day I remember hugging on to that saree all night till almost 5 years of age, which was then replaced by me teddy bear (because my dog chew on to that saree). Kids basically need a sense of security while sleeping and holding to something they like or connect to helps a lot. It is comforting and reassuring at the same time.
THE FINAL GOODNIGHT
A nice tight hug, a kiss on the forehead. You can never get enough of those. Also make sure that they go to the loo and have a glass of water before dozing off finally. And do not give in to requests like one more story. They need to understand that once they are in bed, they have to sleep.
Inspite of all this you kids may wake up and come to your room at the middle of the night. Make sure that you walk them back to their bed and settle them. You might try taking them to the loo in such cases. My daughter often wakes up at night and comes asking for either of us to sleep in her room with her. A bathroom visit at this time mostly helps.
The goal of a bedtime routine is for your child to be able to sleep on his/ her own without you by the side, once they are a little older. It is for them to be able to fall back asleep without needing you in case they wake up in the middle of the night.
#LetsBlogwithPri is a Blog Train hosted by Prisha Lalwani, Author at Mummasaurus. Thank you Cindy who blogs at http://www.blogaberry.com for introducing me. Do read her post on soending quality time with kids here 👉 http://www.blogaberry.com/being-a-parent/bond-with-your-kids-during-the-holidays/ Also, I would like to introduce Revati who blogs at http://mommysmusings.in Check out her post on toddler games http://mommysmusings.in/2019/04/a-list-of-simple-toddler-games/
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