It’s apparent to anyone who’s ever had kids — especially really young kids, who have to count their fingers to tell you exactly how old they are when asked — that it can be exceptionally difficult to get them to settle down and go to sleep. Overly exhausted moms and dads everywhere have tried all they can — from warm milk to 3 or 4 bedtime stories — to get the young’uns to finally crash for the night, often with mixed results.
Why is it so hard to get children to just go to sleep? And how can you help speed the process along in order to keep your own sleep cycle (and sanity) intact? We’ve got a couple of tips that should help you out:
Check in on them
Most young kids around ages 3-6 are attention-cravers. They’ll do just about everything they can to get, and hold onto, your attention for as long as humanly possible. So how do you get a kid like that to stay put in one spot for the night? Make regular check-ins on them — yes, even after you’ve tucked them in for the night. Find out if there’s anything on their minds that’s got them feeling especially antsy or anxious, and make sure to set their minds at ease before leaving them for the night.
You can also try staging your appearances. Promise to read them another bedtime story in another 5/10/15 minutes if they can stay in bed and stay quiet, stretching each break out longer until they’re finally out like a light.
Start forming a regular routine
Parents everywhere know how important it is to stick their kids to a routine for everything else in their day, and the same applies to getting ready for bed — perhaps more so. Children crave a sense of stability, and you can help instill that in bedtime by starting them on the process of getting ready — save their video game progress, change into their jammies, brush their teeth, etc. — at least a half hour before they need to be under the covers. Ensure they have their favorite (soft) toy, their favorite nightlight, etc. – every “prop” that they need to ease their fears or stop their requests.
What has worked best for you in getting your kids snoozing on the mattress in no time?