If you’re a parent, you know the challenge of putting your children to sleep at night all too well.
It’s not easy preparing and calming your kids down for bedtime, but it’s essential that you do your best so that they can enjoy plenty of high-quality sleep. When children don’t get enough sleep, they have difficulty concentrating and controlling their emotions.
They may become irritable or hyperactive. Additionally, kids who are sleep deprived are more likely to have behavioral problems.
But don’t worry. If you want to learn how to calm kids down before bed, we’re here to help.
Set up a Routine
One of the best ways to avoid bedtime stress is by setting up a regular nightly routine for your kids. This encourages good sleep patterns.
A consistent bedtime routine of bath, story, and bed can help smaller children feel ready to snooze. For older children, you might cut out the story and replace it with a quick and quiet chat about their day before switching the lights out.
Setting regular sleeping and waking times for the whole family also helps calm children before bed. Just be sure to follow them, even on the weekend.
You can tell that your kids are getting enough sleep when they fall asleep within 15 to 30 minutes of going to bed and can wake up easily during the day.
Many kids will also ask for that ‘one last thing’, whether it’s a big hug, a drink of water, another story, or a trip to the bathroom. Do your best to involve these requests by making them part of the bedtime routine.
It’s also essential to let your child know that once they are in bed, they need to stay in bed. If they refuse, try not to react negatively but take them by the hand and walk them back to bed.
Remember, if you argue or give in to their demands, you’re just giving your kids extra attention and delaying bedtime.
Try not to give in to the ‘just this one-time’ pitfall. If you let your children stay up longer, ‘just this once’, they will try to delay it again and again, potentially undoing the bedtime routine you’ve worked on and accomplished.
Work as a Team
It’s essential to discuss and agree on a sleeping routine with your child or spouse beforehand so that you can work as a team to reduce stress before bedtime. Without any discussion, you can’t expect your kids to learn or change their behaviors.
If you’re starting a new sleep routine for your children, make them feel involved by explaining the new structure to them if they’re old enough to understand.
For younger children, use an illustrated picture chart to help them learn and understand the new routine. It should demonstrate actions like changing clothes, brushing teeth, and reading bedtime stories.
Create a Calming Environment
Creating a cozy and calming environment in the bedroom is also essential in reducing kids’ stress before sleep. Always ensure that the bedroom is dark and quiet, and the noise level throughout the house is low. The blue light coming from televisions, computer screens, mobile phones, and tablets delays sleepiness and suppresses melatonin levels.
Bright lights in the hour or so before bedtime can have the same effect on children. Always turn off devices at least one hour before bedtime and keep bright screens out of your kids’ room at night. Dim the lights an hour or so before bed for kids of preschool age and younger.
If your child doesn’t like a completely dark room, switch on a small night light or leave the hall light on with the bedroom door open. If you choose a night-light, select a dim and warm-colored globe instead of a bright, white, cool-colored lamp.
You should also check the noise inside your child’s bedroom to avoid disrupting them.
If your children tend to watch the clock, encourage your kid to move it or place it in a spot where they can’t see it from the bed.
Deal With Sleep Issues
If your child struggles with sleeping issues, such as difficulties falling asleep, waking up at night, avoiding going to bed, waking up at night, or snoring, make sure you deal with these problems.
You may also notice issues in daytime behavior. If your child seems overly tired, sleepy, or agitated during the day, it may be worth speaking to their doctor.
Make Story Time Part of the Routine
If you don’t already have storytime as part of your bedtime routine, try adding it in right away. Whether it’s independent reading or spending time together as a family, reading before bedtime is a great habit of starting early. Many children continue this habit as they grow older.
To make storytime fun, why not create a reading nook, fort, or den with cozy blankets to give them a quiet space for reading.
Now You Know How to Calm Kids Down Before Bed
Congratulations – now you know how to calm kids down before bed! Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for a bedtime routine as every child is different.
Create a routine that works well with your family and make an effort to stick with it.
Want to learn more about practicing a healthy sleeping routine? Understand the effects of sleeping disorders on your health here.