If your kid is still running around the house at full speed late into the night, you’re not alone. Children are notorious for hating their bedtime schedules and doing their best to fight it off. But you don’t have to feel helpless to the energetic whims of your children. You can take bedtime back by creating a solid routine that helps your child wind down, adjust to the idea that it’s bedtime and slip into a slumber. Using consistency, patience and understanding, you can help your child relax and get ready to hit the hay.
Identify your child’s problems
If your son doesn’t want to go to bed, make sure there isn’t a problem you haven’t addressed. If he hasn’t showered yet, send him to do so. Does he think his bed is uncomfortable? He may find his sleeping clothes or his blanket too warm or too cold to fall asleep comfortably. He may even be uncomfortable sleeping on his own.
Figure out what exactly is bothering your child about their bedtime routine and see what you can do to address it. He may need a second blanket or a lighter blanket; he may want a flashlight. Look for simple solutions that ease their anxiety or reluctance to go to bed. Make bed feel warm and inviting with stuffed animals they can play with and reassuring sights, like glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling.
Make bedtime feel secure
More than anything, children thrive on simple routines. Make sure bedtime is a consistent routine in your household. Turn the TV off at the same time every night, and start dimming the lights at the same time as well. Bedtime should be a family affair - if mom and dad both wind down with your child, he might be more willing to hit the hay, since he doesn’t feel like he’s missing anything. You can always resume watching television at a quiet volume when he’s back to sleep.
Reading your child a bedtime story is an excellent step to incorporate into the routine. It gives your child one-on-one time with you, entertains them with a potentially educational story and helps soothe them to sleep.
Give them activity during the day
If your daughter won’t get into bed at the end of the day, it may be because she still has pent up energy left over. Children naturally have a lot of energy, which means if they don’t get the chance to run around and use it up during the day, they will certainly be bouncing off the walls at night. Make sure regular outside play is part of your child’s daily schedule, as Slumber Search advises. Take her to a park and let her run around, or enroll her in a local gymnastics, soccer or baseball team. Arrange play dates on rainy days to keep her busy and having fun.
After they’ve worn themselves out through the day, your kids might be low on physical stamina, but still mentally alert and excited. Make sure your bedtime routine includes a winding down phase. This is when you turn all the media off, start dimming the lights in the house, give them a late night snack and prepare for bed. You don’t have to rush this process - you can turn the TV off two hours before bedtime, for example. Give your child a chance to take a bath and brush his or her teeth. Bathing can help them settle down, especially if you give them a warm bath.
Try to stay firm about bedtime - don’t acquiesce to requests for another half hour. Getting your child to bed doesn’t have to be a war every night. With patience, a clearly delineated schedule and a comfortable routine, your child will understand that it’s time to get some rest.