It never fails. You are winding down with the kiddos before bedtime. You’re watching their favorite cartoon or reading their favorite story for the umpteenth time. Next, you get them snuggled into bed and it starts. “Can I have a drink?” “I need to use the bathroom.” “We never colored today.” Those sweet little angels turn into stalling masterminds. You have the option of shutting the door and letting them cry it out but there are other steps you can take to make the transition to bedtime easier on everyone. From utilizing music to a comfortable bed, these 5 tips to get kids to sleep will help you finally conquer the bedtime wars.
It’s not always an option for kids to each have their own room. Don’t let this keep you from smooth bedtimes. Stagger bedtimes with your kids to eliminate playing at bedtime. This doesn’t have to be significant amounts. If your kids are close in age, staggering by 15 minutes can still be effective. Staggering bedtimes will mean changing up your bedtime routine (see below) to doing the winding down and prayers in the living room instead of in bed so plan accordingly.
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Create a Routine
This is a big one. A consistent bedtime routine not only helps kids mentally prepare for bedtime but also creates physical cues that tell their bodies that it is time to sleep. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate routine. Something as simple as setting a specific time to begin baths, read a book, and say prayers has a high impact. My kids cannot get through our bedtime prayers without yawning because it has become a physical cue that it is time for them to go to sleep.
- Consistency is key when starting a new bedtime routine. It may seem hard-nosed but for the first 2 weeks, do not deviate from the routine. That means no staying late at family or friend’s houses, no eating dinner at a later time, and no skipping baths. Once the routine is well-established, the occasional deviation won’t do harm.
Sometimes kids have trouble turning their brains off at night. They are building memories, creating connections, and learning constantly. Television can be over-stimulating but music, especially instrumental, can be a great way to give them something to focus on without getting wound up. If you are having trouble getting your kids to stay in bed at night, try getting an inexpensive clock-radio, cd player, or even a nightlight that plays music.
Beware of Electronics
Electronics are not a bad thing. My kids get to watch a television show before bed every night. However, they are not watching an activity-filled cartoon that encourages them to get up and dance or jump around the house. Instead it is a mellow show, often with music. It is also one that they have seen before so that they can enjoy it without wondering what’s going to happen (which can make their brain get more engaged than I want before bed).
- I do caution against any type of video games before bed. Even the most education-filled and mellow of video games can overstimulate them before bed. Their brains begin working on solving problems, adrenaline starts pumping from wins and losses, and it is overall a bad bedtime idea.
You may be tempted to purchase a $50 mattress for your kids, especially if they are still in a crib or toddler bed because they will outgrow it in a few years. I have made that mistake and it resulted in my daughter not sleeping through the night until she was 18 months old. As you can imagine, that was an exhausting nightmare for a mom pregnant with her third child. Instead, invest in a high-quality mattress that is comfortable and grows along with your child, like this Poppy 2-Stage Crib Mattress from Brentwood Home. The mattress has a firmer side for babies and a softer side for toddlers which makes it worth the investment for your kids. Did I mention that it comes with a waterproof cover that is easy to clean and it is free of any chemical fire retardants? Think about how much better you sleep when you have a comfortable bed and imagine how much better your kids will sleep with the same. If you are going to splash out and get a new mattress then whether it’s for you or for your kids, make sure it’s the right size for the bed. You’d be amazed by the amount of people who buy a mattress the wrong size for their bed! Double check this guide to mattress sizes before you buy anything.
Allay those bedtime requests by working them into your routine. For example, if your son always asks for a drink as soon as those covers come up, bring a small cup to bed. Fill it beforehand with a sip of water and let him have that sup in bed. If your daughter always wants a second story, build that extra story into the bedtime routine by lying down to read 5-10 minutes earlier. These small changes can make your life so much easier at night.
My 4-year-old daughter loves her new mattress and actually looks forward to sleeping on it! If you want to help your child be invested in bedtime, make her a part of the whole process. Show her when you’re ordering it online. Let her be a part of the unboxing and setting it up. When your child is a part of the process they actually get excited about bedtime. While you won’t find this little snippet on the Brentwood Home website, I love that the mattress is like a springy trampoline. It supports my daughter while still being soft and comfortable. It also turns out that kids are less inclined to jump on a bed that doesn’t vault them into the air. That’s just an extra parenting bonus. Are you ready to end the bedtime wars and get your hands on your own Poppy 2-Stage Crib Mattress and Sweatpea Changing Pad? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a set for free!
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I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.