It’s a silly question to ask any parent of young children. Sometimes sleep deprivation seems to be an integral part of the job. With the lighter nights coming in, Julie Bannerman, our Family Champion, has put together some top tips for encouraging a good bedtime routine …..and hopefully a better sleeping pattern. Here is Julie’s post.
Children need a good night’s sleep so that they have enough energy to get them through the day and enjoy the activities on offer. It is also important that parents and carers get adequate sleep and child free time to ensure their own needs are met too. The best way to do this is to develop good sleep patterns at an early age. Children need time to calm and regulate themselves after a busy stimulating day and be able to self soothe in to sleep. Just like adults, this takes time, so preparing for bed should be a quiet and relaxed event.
Here are some tips which can help develop a good sleep routine.
Ensure your child’s room is well ventilated, comfortably warm and not overly stimulating.
Light the room with a dim lit lamp before your child enters.
Use a night light if your child is afraid of the dark.
Set a regular bedtime. A good time for pre school children to go to be is between 6 30pm and 7 30pm.
Here is an example of what a good bedtime routine looks like:
Keep calm and speak quietly
To prepare for bedtime tell your child roughly 30minutes beforehand that it is soon bedtime. Enjoy story time together or other quiet activities. Put televisions of etc off and dim the lights if possible. 10 minutes beforehand tell your child to finish off then go through the routine of teeth, toilet etc.
Involve your child by going through the checklist of teeth, saying goodnight to everyone etc.
Settle your child in bed with their comforter if they have one and say goodnight. When ready to leave just go and try not to give in to requests of drink, cuddle etc. Consistency is key.
If your child seems worried tell them that you will be back to check on them in 10 minutes. Do check in 10 minutes, this builds trust. If your child is still protesting repeat the process of tucking in, kiss and walk away. Try not to engage in conversation. If after 10 minutes your child is awake but quiet, peep in but don’t converse.
In the morning praise your child and reward with sticker etc if that’s something you do. If you think your child really tried to stay in bed but just couldn’t manage then still praise them for trying and say hopefully next time you will stay in bed all night.
If you would like more tips or advice on bedtime struggles please email Julie at email@example.com and cc CMcmenemy@milngavie.e-dunbarton.sch.uk