At the end of the day, who is more exhausted; the parents or the children? I can hazard a guess from my own experiences. It seems they the younger the child, the more they wear us out. That is entirely our fault and not theirs. They are doing what comes naturally to them, and we are simply older and struggle to keep up sometimes.
We can make things a little easier on ourselves, and keep our children happy and well, however, by establishing a night time routine that will help them get a good night’s sleep. This stops them from being unduly irritable the next day and allows us to unwind and relax before bed. It is’nt rocket science, just some plain old common sense and determination to see it through every evening.
The Evening Meal
The bedtime routine begins early, with the evening meal. Be sure to sit your little one at a table to eat. Too many parents are allowing their children to kneel on the floor, and eat their dinners in front of the television. This is not good; eating is more difficult, and unbroken stimulation from the television keeps young minds too active when approaching bedtime. Sugary drinks should not be allowed at this meal. The sugar will give them unwanted energy that they will not be able to burn off this late in the day.The dining routine is a marked point evening and the first step to bedtime.
A bath is the second step in the routine. It gives the child a chance to relax and play for a while in the warm water. After the bath, when they have their pyjamas and dressing gown on, they are much calmer than before.
There is just enough time now for a cuddle, before heading upstairs to the bedroom. Maybe there is something you would like to do during this time such as listen to music. The cuddle is the next important step.
Up To Bed
It is now time to head up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire. This should happen at exactly the same time every night. The child will soon learn that when the clock says bedtime, it cannot be argued with. So its up the stairs and into bed.
Reading to children at night seems to be going out of fashion but it shouldn’t. Apart from the story itself, reading concludes the day for them. Whether you read, or listen to them, it doesn’t matter. There are thousands of low reading age books to select from, so exciting adventures await. It is easy, at this stage, to rush through the reading. But if you do this all of your hard work will have been for nothing. After a reasonable time, your child will accept that it is lights out and off to sleep.
The Next Morning
Wake your child at a set time and stick to it. Never let them sleep in, however tempting it may seem. It is important to adhere rigidly to sleeping and waking hours from now on.
I did say it isn’t rocket science and, as you can see, I am right. By taking control of your child’s routine, you will make life easier for all concerned. It takes a little effort but is ultimately rewarding.