When I’ve discussed the topic of our children’s bedtime with other moms, we’ve shared some funny excuses our kids will come up with to avoid bedtime.
Some kids will complain that they’re hungry or that they have to use the bathroom or they will want you to read them one more story. Nothing really tops when my daughter insisted that her teddy bear should also get a bath before bedtime. And, although we can laugh about it later, bedtime can be stressful for you and your child. Here are some ways to make bedtime easier for you and your kids.
1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. Kids need a routine. Our regular wake-up time is 7:00 a.m., whether it’s a weekday or the weekend. Bedtime is a slightly different schedule, depending on the child’s age.
2. Get your kids to help. Kids love to help. I have my kids put their stuff away and get their clothes ready for the next day. Then my older daughter helps her younger siblings brush their teeth and they all read a book together. This evening routine has made bedtime easier for everyone.
3. Help them transition into bedtime. Have some quiet time before you put your kids to bed. Talk about their day, read a book together or just cuddle with them with soft music in the background. This will help them relax and they will be more ready to go to sleep.
4. Have consequences. While I want to be empathetic and show flexibility, it’s just as important to have boundaries and stay firm. My children have had meltdowns around bedtime, and I have soothed them, but instead of caving into their demands, I stayed firm and let them know that they’ll be consequences. After taking away certain privileges, meltdowns right before bedtime rarely happen now.
5. Explain to them why sleep is so important. We’ve heard the question so many times “why do I have to go to bed?”. They’ll make excuses or fight to stay awake to watch the rest of a show. Help them understand why sleep is necessary to stay healthy and avoid becoming sick.