Are your kids wide awake when they should be sleeping? This typical scenario causes misery the following day when everyone’s overtired. If you want your children to sleep, though, you need to identify any mistakes you’re making and implement changes.
Not sticking to a routine
Kids benefit from a regular bedtime routine, which means turning in at a similar time each night. Start by helping them wind down an hour before bed, though. Dim the lights, stop energetic play and create a calming atmosphere. Gentle music, story-telling, and cuddles by the fireside help children relax, priming them for sleep.
Not encouraging enough exercise in the day
If your kids have excess energy, you’ll know it! They’ll be bouncing off the ceilings when you want them to go to bed. Ensure they exercise in the daytime, long before it’s time to hit the hay. Encourage playtime outdoors when possible; children move more when they have space. If they’re stuck inside, motivate them to exercise. Dancing, playing Nintendo Wii games, jumping, or skipping will decrease their energy.
Rewarding being awake
Of course, you want to be kind to your kids when they can’t sleep. Nonetheless, you don’t want to encourage them to stay awake by offering rewards. Don’t give them treats, like sweet drinks and candies if they wake in the night. Also, don’t provide long cuddles; a quick hug is enough to show you care. Additionally, don’t allow playtime to begin when your kids should be fast asleep. Calmly put them back to bed and tuck them in rather than making staying up worthwhile.
Tell your kids they must go to bed in five minutes, or they won’t get a bedtime story, but don’t follow through, and they’ll imagine they are in charge. Stick to rules, so it’s clear they can’t be broken. Also, be consistent. Don’t tell your kids to go to bed at a certain time one night, then allow them to stay up another for no particular reason. They will get confused; they won’t understand how to behave well at bedtime.
Using positive reinforcement always is more productive than negative consequences. One logical positive consequence could be to allow them to stay up later on Friday and Saturday if they go to bed on time during the school week. You can use other privileges as an encouragement. If you are using a point chart with them, add this as a way to earn points.
Your kids will be tired and unhappy if they don’t get enough sleep. Inadvertently, though, you might have encouraged them to stay awake. Stick to a routine and help them wind down before bedtime. Ensure they exercise during the day and don’t reward them for being awake. Also, be consistent with rules about going to bed, and your kids will find it’s easier to enter the land of Nod.