Routine gives kids confidence in knowing what to expect and helps to prepare them for the next stage of the day.
As parents, we hear so much about the importance of routine for our children.
It is something that they thrive on for so many different reasons. Having a solid day-to-day routine helps instil a sense of security
for our children.
It gives them confidence in knowing what to expect and helps to prepare them for the next stage of the day. If children are prepared they are less likely to tantrum and resist that very thing.
When you have more than one child it can be more difficult to pursue certain elements of a routine. For example, you might have a baby who has to nap on the go in the car due to school pick-ups and after-school activities for the older children.
It’s all about making the most of your particular circumstances and making this your normal and comfortable routine.
When it comes to sleep, routine really has an impact. So many parents link good quality sleep to a solid bedtime routine and there is evidence to back that up. There are certain indicators and practices which biologically and emotionally help our children get into the right groove for a good night’s sleep.
If you want to improve your children’s bedtime routine these tips might just help you out.
1. Try to keep things strict when it comes to bedtimes. This is particularly important for older children who will always find a delay tactic or a reason to need a later bedtime. Think about age-appropriate bedtimes and make them clear to all family members as it will require commitment on everyone’s part. For example, if an older sibling is allowed to stay up an hour later than a younger sibling then that older sibling will have to ensure that their activities during that hour are quiet so they do not interfere with other people’s sleep.
2. Limit sugar and liquids before bed. Too much sugar will make it a lot more difficult for your children to wind down before they sleep and liquids will require a lot more toilet trips than you might like.
3. Look at the ambience of the house. Changing some of the interiors and lighting elements can really help to create a cosy evening environment which makes sleep a lot more appealing. Cosy blankets and dim lighting can work really well.
4. Feel free to do things your way. Bath time doesn’t have to be nightly if it doesn’t suit your family routine. Try to find and commit to a realistic plan for your family.
5. Food matters. Ensure that your children are full and satisfied going to bed without them being too full which can lead to stomach cramps. Keeping dinner at a regular time can help achieve this.
6. Limit screen time. You might make a rule that an hour before bed reading is encouraged rather than TV watching, music or consoles. This will lead to quicker and better quality sleep all round.
7. Consider how the children dress and the room temperature. On colder nights choose warmer PJs and adjust the way you’ve heated the house. This can massively impact your child’s comfort and can be a reason that they wake up during the night and struggle to get back to sleep.
8. Security blankets/dolls/teddies can actually be very effective. Bedtime usually means separation from parents and other family members. Having a security blanket or teddy helps your children accept this as they have their special item close by before and during bedtime. It is a great association with sleep and bedtime.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.