Forming healthy habits is always best when started young, and the most crucial thing your child needs to welcome a day full of activities is a night of 9-12 hours (or even more) of restful sleep beforehand. If you're looking for efficient ways for your child and you to figure out their best bedtime practices, we've come up with five tips that can point you in the right direction.
When planning out your child's nightly routine, it's always best to start with what habits already work for them. Pay attention to the small details; do they have trouble falling asleep on their own? Do they calm down after a warm glass of milk? Do they fall asleep faster after a shower? Look out for these habits and apply to your regimen the ones you think might work. Try not to plan too many segments into the routine, as it may overwhelm both your little one and you. Remember that your first tries might not be a perfect match to your child's preferred ways, and that It's best to be patient with both your child and yourself throughout this process.
Consistency is Key
Children learn quickly through repetition, and having a stable routine may help them feel more secure. The first few days into it can be challenging and awkward to follow, but before you know it, everything becomes muscle memory. Practice your nightly regimen religiously at the same time and in the exact sequence every night — soon enough these good habits will do the bulk of the work as each step of it will subliminally cue your child for bed.
Note: For those with ASD, a consistent routine can have a major impact in making bedtime easier.
Communicate Ahead of Time
Your child sometimes might be too wrapped up in the sheer excitement of their immediate interests, so if they are likely to play or busy themselves with an activity after dinner, it may be helpful to let them know when it's almost time for bed at least half an hour before. This practice will give them enough time to detach from their activity and mentally prepare for the routine. Your child surely will appreciate this over being carted away to bed in a sudden rush.
Have a Little Snack
Our bodies have a natural tendency to feel sleepy after eating as a result of hormones being released in the brain. Take advantage of this hard-wired biological process and breastfeed your infant or give them a bottle of warm milk as they fall asleep. If your child is old enough not to be bottle fed, you can give any light snack such as fruit but keep in mind that sugar can spike their energy levels and cause them to be overactive, so avoid feeding them anything too sweet. Remember to brush their teeth before bed as well.
Encourage Bathroom Habits
A troubled bladder or stomach can often be a rude (and uncomfortable) awakening for your sleeping child, so avoid the possibility of a soiled crib or a cranky toddler in the middle of the night by anticipating these scenarios and adapting bathroom habits into the routine. Remind them about going to the toilet, practicing dental hygiene, and maybe even having a nice warm bath, if your child prefers feeling completely fresh and pampered before going to bed.
Make the Bedroom a Space for Sleep
This might sound obvious, but even adults struggle with this. We lay in bed with gadgets, bright lights, TVs, and laptops. We take work to bed, or practice handicrafts. It's no different for little ones, who often have their sleep space and play space overlap.
Even if your child's bedroom is packed with toys and activities, encourage them to see the bed as a space for sleeping only. This can also help reduce common childhood fears and make their bed a safe space they feel comfortable in, which also helps sleep quality.
Don't let them play on the bed during the day, and try not to leave the bed full of toys and other engaging items at night. Instead, now you've put all this work into developing a routine, finish it off by putting them to bed with a kiss, hug, or story (or all three) and a favorite, consistent sleep-time toy. Something comforting and trusted, like a long-time comfort toy or their Snorble®, can act as an additional cue to their developing mind that it's not playtime or awake time, but time to hug their sleep buddy tight and slip off to dreamland.
Introduction to Snorble
Snorble is a one of a kind AI sleeping companion that helps parents customize their child's bedtime routine according to their specific needs. They can give you updated advice based on research done by experts to give you a more scientific approach to developing your child's healthy sleeping behaviors. This delightful companion can also be set to monitor your child as they sleep and update you through the app on your smartphone, and can also be set to wake your child up in the morning. On top of their sleep-related features, Snorble also comes with fun, habit-forming activities to keep your child engaged and enriched throughout the day, because all good habits are easier when initiated at a young age.
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