Bedtime can be a challenge for parents especially with small children, but it doesn”t always have to be. By creating an enjoyable and comfortable nighttime routine, your children will be less anxious about bedtime and mommy and daddy will be able to decompress stress free. The end of the day can also provide time for parents and their little ones to talk, bond and even learn together.
It”s very important (and helpful) to create a consistent routine. Although there are no set must-do rules, this routine has to be practiced nightly in order to be effective. The routine is set in place to allow your child to go to bed calmly and fall asleep with less fussing or rebelling.
The following are suggested activities to make your nighttime routine a pleasant and fun experience.
Read a Bedtime Story
A classic bedtime story is an exceptional way to make the transition from play to rest. Reading together is a great way to cuddle, relax and instill a love of books, as well as learning a new lesson or moral from a cherished character.
Some classic bedtime stories recommendations include:
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? By Jane Yolen
Green Eggs and Ham By Dr. Seuss
Madeline By Ludwig Bemelmans
Goodnight Moon By Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
Corduroy By Don Freeman
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs By Judi Barrett
Play a Bedtime Game
Obviously children shouldn”t be playing hide-and-go-seek right before bed, but fun and relaxing bedtime games are a good way to get kids to sleep quicker.
Some great games to try are:
- Around the World: Start with the letter A and see how many places you can name that start with A. Use a different letter each night or a few letters at a time.
- Goodnight Teddy: As you put your child to bed, he or she can help you by putting their dolls or stuffed animals to bed also. They can tuck them in, kiss them and snuggle them a little.
- Drawing and Journaling: Keep a small sketchpad and pencils or crayons near your child”s bed. Your little one can draw a picture about their day or write about their sweet dreams.
Talk about the Day
Use bedtime as a discussion time. Share the story of your day with each other and talk about what you plan to do the following day. A conversation with your child before bed can be a great ending to the day for both of you.
Listen to Music
Listening to music is a great sleep aid and encourages your child to drift off into never, neverland. Put on a CD or download songs on your Ipod of soft lullaby music. Be sure the volume isn”t too loud and turn out the lights so that your child can go to sleep.