One of the biggest challenges as a parent of young kids is bedtime. If only kids could look forward to bedtime the way adults do, your life as a parent would be so much easier! Let’s talk about the 6 Tips on Helping Your Child Get To Sleep.
Unfortunately, kids have FOMO (fear of missing out) and they would rather stay up doing anything besides going to bed.
In our house, I view the task of putting my kids to bed like I view the last few hours on a job. You’re tired and want the day to be over with. Your boss (kids) still expect you to work hard and do your best. You dread those last few hours and just want them to be over so you can enjoy your freedom. However, you have to put in the time to reap the benefits of a quiet house. It’s inevitable.
If putting your kids to bed feels like a dreaded task. You are not alone. However, there are a few things you can do that will ensure your kids get to sleep on time, so you can go on with your night.
6 Tips on Helping Your Child Get To Sleep
#1 – Have a Bedtime Routine
When you establish a bedtime routine for your kids, you are training their brains for the transition into sleep. A routine provides security and structure and research shows that kids thrive with routine.
To get started with a routine, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Family Routines
Here is an example of our bedtime routine (with a 4 and 7 year old boy). My husband and I alternate bedtime every other night so we get break:
6:45 pm – Showers – they shower individually
7:00 pm – Pick Up Rooms – they do this by themselves
7:15 pm – Read Books – I read to them together in bed – they alternate whose bed we read in.
7:30 pm – Lights Out – I spend about 10 minutes laying with each child in bed before they fall asleep. I consider this part of special “quality time” with them.
We’ve used a variation of this routine since my boys were babies. They still need some reminding at times, but they no longer fight me about bedtime. It’s built into their daily habits. This is the first main point of helping get your newborn baby on a sleeping schedule too!
#2 – Cut Back On Activities
The 2nd tip on 6 Tips on Helping Your Child Get To Sleep, is that there are so many opportunities to have your child enrolled in activities in the evening. We have found for our family, that it’s best to limit the activities to once a week. Otherwise, we are rushing through dinner and getting to bed late.
Sleep is so important for a child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
- Infants under 1 year: 12-16 hours
- Children 1-2 years: 11-14 hours
- Children 3-5 years: 10-13 hours
- Children 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- Teenagers 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
If you find that you’re constantly stressed about getting your kids to and from their activity, feeding them dinner, and getting them to bed on time, you may want to evaluate if the activity is worth your child missing valuable hours of sleep. Sleep is just as important for mom and dad too. Tips to help here!
#3 – Stay Consistent with Bedtime – Even on the Weekends
Consistency is key, especially if your child is fighting you about going to bed. It may be tempting to let your kids stay up later on the weekends. But this can interfere with their overall sleep and knock them off their routine. Keep bedtime around the same time on the weekends to avoid the fight of getting back into the routine Sunday night.
#4 – Give Your Child Choices
Kids feel more in control when they have choices. From a young age, I gave my boys choices within their bedtime routine. I would get out two pajamas and they could choose the pair they wanted to wear, and they could choose the books we would read before bed. If you have a child that would rather do things their way, allowing them to have a say during bedtime will give them a little bit of independence and alleviate a struggle.
#5 – Once In Bed, Stay In Bed
Let your child know that once they are in bed, they are to stay in bed. My son loves to tell me how hungry he is and that he needs a snack as soon as he’s settled down in bed. He complains for a while, but I stand my ground and he stays in his bed and falls asleep. If you have a child who is repeatedly getting out of bed, it’s up to you to stand firm and send them back to their room.
#6 – Enlist Help
Bedtime can easily be the most taxing part of your day. If you have someone around, ask that person to help you. Over the years, my husband and I have worked together to get the kids to bed. Now that our kids are a little older, we alternate working the bedtime shift by odd/even days. This way, every other night, one of us has some time to ourselves while the kids go to bed and I avoid the bedtime routine burnout.
Use these 6 tips on helping your child get to sleep and make bedtime easier. Remember that sleep is vital to your child’s health. You are giving them a gift when you help them establish a healthy sleep schedule. What are some of your tips for getting your child to sleep?
Do you have twins?! Check out how this mama got her twins on a sleeping schedule.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Kristen of This Routine Life! I am a wife and mom of two young boys. I couldn’t live in a world without books, podcasts, Bravo TV, coffee, cross-stitch, planners, and my sneakers. I mostly love anything that lets me be sedentary, but I do try to get in a walk almost every day for my sanity. And I am obsessed with routines.