Easy Now: 10 Tips and Tricks for Easy Bedtime

Sleep is one of those evasive things when you are a parent – especially if bedtime becomes a power struggle.

Comedian Michael Macintyre says, “You know what my wife and I say to each other each night as we get into bed? ‘Good Luck’.” It really can feel like luck is the only thing that will save you from meltdowns, bad dreams, and many, many calls or visits to your room in the middle of the night. By morning, you are exhausted, testy, and distracted from the day at hand.

There really is no one answer if your children struggle with bedtime, but there are some tricks you can try. Here is what the experts say about ways to create calm, settle down, and get them to sleep soundly.

  • Set the clock. Makes sure that bedtime is consistent every night. This will help kids (and you) to wind down.
  • Have a mellow out routine. An hour before bedtime, bring the lights lower, brush teeth, and read some calming books about sleeping. Some kids benefit from soft music too.
  • Nightlight. Fear of the dark is a big problem for some kids, so bringing a soft nightlight in can help. Letting them turn it on before the overhead light goes out can also be part of the routine.
  • Color Clock. Some parents have had luck with a digital clock that changes colors, if the kids are too young to read the time. You can set it for certain times to be green, when they have to stay in bed, and when it goes red, they have permission to get out of bed and come find you.
  • Reading. This is a wonderful way to direct kids’ attention away long enough to relax. Read aloud with a soothing voice to help them get groggy.
  • Sing a Lullaby. You might automatically sing them a soft slow song before bed, or you might save it for nightmares or getting up. If they are getting out of bed, you can strike a deal that if they stay in bed, they can sing one song.
  • Don’t forget to give your little one plenty of affection at night. This is when they really need to feel safe and loved so they can drift off to sleep.
  • If your child has trouble detaching from you at night, get a favorite stuffy and let him/her talk to it after the lights go out. The rule that usually works is: lie down, talk quietly, and no getting up.
  • Return to bed. If your little non-sleeper continues to wake up, take a deep breath and walk him or her back to bed without reacting.
  • Be patient. It won’t happen overnight, but if you just stick to the program, sooner or later, children will get it. A regular routine is the thing that enables kids to finally hit the hay in a consistent way.

The object of the sleep game is to keep things calm, so even when they pout, stall, misbehave, or goof off, keep it even keel. If you find something that works, stick with it, and also take a look at The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. It has some very gentle suggestions for getting all the age groups to go to sleep and stay asleep (so you can as well!).




About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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