“I don’t want to sleep, mom! I want to watch TV with you…!” wails your little one as you try to talk her/him into getting ready for bed. All little comic strip characters – be it Calvin and Hobbes or Dennis the menace – are full of stories of children cooking up excuses for not going to bed on time. The problem is, most of us do not approach the subject positively and make bedtime a task rather than create an atmosphere where the child would love to rest. Children, on their part, protest when told to go to bed because they view it more as an intrusion into their ‘fun time’ rather than the time to take some much needed rest. They would rather fall asleep watching TV just like us grownups, blissfully unaware of how detrimental it is for their health. It is thus, important to establish a bedtime routine keeping in mind the needs of the child so that they view it less as a task and more as sound rest. Here’s how to establish a healthy bedtime routine for your child.
Establishing Bedtime Routines For Children
Here are some things that could help develop a bedtime routine in children:
Together We Go To Bed
Instead of ordering the child to go and brush his or her teeth before going to bed, encourage him to do all those little jobs with you – brush your teeth too so that the child will follow suit. It is best to get it done by participating in it, because the one complaint that children often have with their parents is that they continue to watch TV while the kids are sent to bed. You have to set good examples for your children to follow, so you must institutionalize and internalize what you are teaching thechild to do.
Encourage your child to take a bath before he or she goes to bed so that he or she is relaxed and soothed. Taking a relaxing bath before going to bed is a wonderful practice and children often enjoy bathing before bed during the night than early in the morning.
Talk To Me
Before your child retires to bed, you must try talking to the child about his/her day and so on to ease him or her of any stress that he or she may be feeling. Talking to children eases burdens and builds confidence in them. All the while, the child talks to you, make sure he or she is lying down and you either sit or lie down next to the child.
Children would often ask you to read more than one story during bedtime. It is not because they want to avoid sleep but because they want you to stay a little longer. Try to speak to your child when he or she demands to hear more than one story – he or she may just be scared or insecure.
As a parent, it is your duty to be consistent about routines; children will try anything and everything to break away from routines. They may try and wheedle you into letting them watch TV for some more time , but you will have to be persistent and firm while dealing with such requests.