6 tips to get kids to sleep and avoid bedtime wars
Most parents probably agree that the evenings can be the hardest time of the day. It’s when it feels like a million things need to get done, you and your kids are exhausted and no one is on their best behaviour. Trying to get kids to sleep sometimes feels like a mountain to climb when all you want to do is lie on the couch. With ice cream. And the remote control.
Our favourite tips to get kids to sleep
Let’s be honest, every parent has struggled with the bedtime routine at some point or another. To help us all out, we talked to some experts and a few fellow parents about some hacks to help make getting the kids to sleep slightly easier.
1. No screens before bed
The blue light emitted from screens reduces the body’s production of melatonin which helps our body’s sleep cycle. An increase of melatonin at bedtime signals awake time for our kids’ brains. This makes it harder for their bodies to switch off and get ready for sleep. The best solution is to decide on a set time each afternoon/early evening when screens need to switch off.
Young children don’t always find transitioning from one task to the next very easy. A positive, predictable, bedtime routine can help them transition into the next phase.
It could go something like: 5:30pm dinner. 6:15pm bath, brushing teeth. 6:45pm read books with parents. 7pm into bed. If you stick with the same routine every day, it will help children understand that bedtime is coming. Hopefully, that means it won’t be a complete shock for them each night!
3. Enjoy a sensory experience like a bath
It’s important for children to do things that are relaxing at bedtime. For many kids, having a bath allows them time to unwind however sometimes that isn’t possible.
Speech pathologist and creator of Dinosnores (more on that later!) Sherene Alfreds told Birde that her kids have eczema so can’t have baths every day.
“They still needed a relaxing, sensory activity. Instead, they used to play with some play dough to help them unwind, slow down and get ready for bed,” she told us.
4. Read books together
We all know how important it is to read to our kids. Bedtime is a perfect opportunity for everyone to unwind and enjoy a good book together.
It doesn’t even matter if it’s a book that your child has heard again and again. Kids need repetition to learn. Although it’s a bit boring for us to read The Cat in Hat for the 297th time, it’s fabulous for their speech and vocabulary. Eventually, it will help them learn to read by themselves.
5. Choose some rituals
Every family is different so rituals will be a personal thing. It could be snuggling together in bed or saying prayers. Or you could share what you’re thankful for each night which is what my friend Sarah does.
“Each night, we sit together on my daughter’s bed and each person gets a turn to say something they’re thankful for. They’re usually thankful for toys but occasionally they will surprise us. They might say they’re thankful for something that we thought they’d forgotten, like something we made them for lunch or a cuddle after they fell. It’s a really lovely way to end our day,” she said.
6. Listen to meditations
There are some amazing kids meditations, like Dinosnores, which help kids unwind and fall asleep. We love Dinosnores because it has a 30-minute story written specifically for young children. It features characters like a dragon, a mermaid or a kitten. The story teaches kids how to relax their bodies, deepen their breath and get to sleep.
According to Sherene: “Kids internalise those skills such as focusing on their breathing and visualising another world so they can use the techniques in other circumstances.”
Dinosnores content will be available on Birde, the world’s first smart media player for kids. Check out some of our other content in our Birde store.
Now the kids are asleep, it’s time for some Insta and wine time! Whoohoo!