Have you ever listened to the words of a lullaby? It makes it sound like getting kids to sleep is such a peaceful, smooth process that mom and dad can skip out of the room with ease. The reality for most parents, however, is that bedtime combines the chaos of a WWE match with the laundry list of excuses from those small negotiators in your life. You may even start to wonder if your household will ever get on a sleep schedule.
This leaves room for two options: get no sleep until your littles turn into bigs and move out, or find a routine that works for your family. For the sake of your sanity—and health—let’s talk techniques to help make the latter happen.
Establish a routine
Contrary to popular belief, children do not like the element of surprise. By creating a routine, children can anticipate what to expect each night, just as they know what to do during mealtime, bath time, etc. The first thing to consider is the order in which you want to do things—and will be able to do things—nightly.
Of course, there may be some times when the schedule gets a little off track, but for the most part try to keep to the timeline. That brings us to the oh-so important question: what time will your kids go to bed? You should establish a set wake-up and sleep time for your kids.
Next, give yourself enough time to start the routine by considering when everything else has to occur, like dinner, bath, teeth brushing, etc. Also, try to limit drinks and snacks one to two hours before bed so that potty-time needs don’t interfere with a good night’s rest.
Look the part
Who doesn’t love dress up? Now, imagine creating that same enthusiasm for jammies. By stocking the dresser with comfy, cute pajamas, your little will look forward to getting into nighttime gear. Part of your routine can include your child getting to pick out which set he or she wears that night.
Burt's Bees Clustered Star Organic Cotton Pajamas bring the magic of a starry night to your child’s sleep schedule. This cozy cotton will hug your little guy, while also tying in the whole theme of nighttime with the star pattern. And there’s an option for lighter pastels with the morning haze theme. When shopping for jammies, definitely look for breathable fabric options that won’t restrict movement or make your little one sweat.
Share Goodnight Moon
One of the most cherished memories of any childhood is the bedtime stories read to us as kids, so why not create memories like that with your own children? With today’s hustle, what a beautiful thing it is to carve out those uninterrupted moments to read a favorite book or to freestyle your own tale. Not only does reading aloud encourage your child’s love of books, but it also becomes the one non-negotiable time of your day when all distractions are put on hold.
There are a ton of ways to find age-appropriate reading lists, starting with your local library or bookstore. Scholastic also put together its top 100 books for kids. Create as much enthusiasm about shopping for books as there is for toys, and slowly build up your literary arsenal.
Sleep—or lack thereof—is one of the hardest parts of parenting. Tired children make for cranky parents, or vice versa. Family life is busy, especially if multiple commitments pull members of your family out of the house. Yet, by creating a bedtime routine early on, your kids will adapt to their sleep schedule as an expected part of their day. Plus, by adding in things like bedtime stories, the day ends on a sweeter note.