Bedtime can be the easiest time for some parents while for some it may the toughest job. Kids differ in their behavior towards going to sleep. Most of the kids who find it difficult to fall asleep at night actually want to explore more. For some, it may be a sensory seeking behavior that compels them to stay awake no matter how tired they are.
Different kids have different ways and needs. However, almost all kids need to be busy and feel tired by the end of the day so that sleeping becomes a little easy. On an average, young kids need around 10-11 hours of sleep and for older kids it may be a little less. Additionally, those kids who take an afternoon nap also need to be adjusted accordingly. It is up to the parents to find out what suits their child the best.
Bedtime, like any other ritual, should be made a routine for kids. Parents can be make it appealing by relating it to activities that the kids like and feel relaxed with. Some of the practices that can be adopted are:
- Let your child play before the bedtime or dinner and make sure they complete all their chores including meeting and playing with all the family members at home.
- Decide your child’s time to go to bed and feed the dinner or warm milk accordingly. Make bedtime brushing and visiting the toilet a habit from the very beginning.
- Make sure all stimulating environment like playing, computer, television are switched off at that time and then lead your child to the bed.
- It is important that you provide your child with the required sensory input to help them stay calm and have a sound sleep. For example, a warm bath, a body massage, a soothing fragrance, a favorite soft toy or blanket.
- You can choose what soothing environment your child prefers and use that to relax them. For example, using dim lights, reading or narrating good non-scary bedtime stories, singing songs, etc.
- You can comfort your children with a warm cuddle and a kiss and stay besides them till they fall asleep.
- You can have songs or jingles specially designed within yourselves that the children will be able to link to with bedtime. For example, good night or sweet dreams tunes.