Pop Some Bubbly -- Bubbly bath that is! Asking a child to head to bed right after they have been riled up by an exciting television show, round of tickles with dad, or an hour of outdoor playtime can be really difficult. As adults, we need a little time to transition from one activity to the next and kids need that same down time.
Giving your child a nice warm bubble bath right before bed, will calm them down, give them a little extra playtime and settle them down for the night. There is something calming about a warm bath right before bed that relaxes the muscles and the brain to create a nice calming transition to bedtime. Bring out the Books! After bath time, take a few minutes for story time each night. Have a big basket of story time books that your child can choose from.
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This sets the expectation that story time is part of the bedtime ritual. This process continues the calm transition. Fill the story time basket with books that have themes you feel you can talk about with your child to create a nice dialogue before bed. Don't put books in the basket that center around stories or themes that could be troubling or too exciting. For example, you may not want to have a story about a superhero saving the world or a team of ghost hunters. Add Some Noise! Adding some noise when you want your child to sleep through the night seems like the most counterintuitive thing you can do.
However, it's all about adding the "right" noise. Sometimes having a room "too quiet" will do more to keep your little one awake than help them sleep. Having a little white noise in the bedroom can be helpful to drown out other noises in the house like the little creaks that all houses make or the sound of your television. White noise will give your child just enough soothing background sound to help them drift right off to sleep.
Though most toddlers take 1- to 3-hour naps during the day, you don't have to force your child to nap. But do schedule some quiet time, even if your toddler chooses not to sleep. Establish a bedtime routine to help kids relax and get ready for sleep. For a toddler, the routine might be 5—30 minutes long and include calming activities such as reading a story, bathing, and listening to soft music. Whatever the nightly ritual is, your toddler will probably insist that it be the same every night.
Just don't allow rituals to become too long or complicated.
Whenever possible, let your toddler make bedtime choices within the routine: which pajamas to wear, which stuffed animal to take to bed, what music to play. This gives your little one a sense of control.
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Even the best sleepers give parents an occasional wake-up call. Teething can wake a toddler and so can dreams. Active dreaming begins at this age, and for very young children dreams can be alarming. Carefully choose the books you read with your toddler before bedtime, and keep the content mild. Nightmares are scary for toddlers, who can't tell imagination from reality. Comfort and hold your child at these times. Let your toddler talk about the dream if he or she wants to, and stay until your child is calm.
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Then encourage your child to go back to sleep as soon as possible. Time spent with screens like a TV or tablet can disrupt a child's sleep. That's one reason why health experts recommend:. Preschoolers sleep about 10—13 hours a night. Those who get enough rest at night may no longer need a daytime nap. Instead, they may benefit from some quiet time in the afternoon. Most nursery schools and kindergartens have quiet periods when the kids lie on mats or just rest. As kids give up their naps, they may go to bed at night earlier than they did as toddlers.
School-age kids need 9—12 hours of sleep a night.
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Bedtime problems can start at this age for a variety of reasons. Homework, sports and after-school activities, screen time on computers, TVs, smartphones, and other devices , and hectic family schedules all can contribute to kids not getting the sleep they need. Sleep-deprived kids can become hyper or irritable, and may have a hard time paying attention in school. It's still important to have a consistent bedtime, especially on school nights. Leave enough technology-free time before bed to allow your child to unwind before lights-out.
What time do you start your bedtime routines? Comment below!
For example, if he is afraid of the dark then he could benefit from some exposure therapy to help him get used to being in the dark. Our ultimate goal here is to help your son learn to tolerate uncertainty without seeking reassurance from you.
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During this process you should also be careful not to shame him for his fears. You might start with him lying in his own bed and you sitting in a chair next to him until he falls asleep. Once he can do that you can gradually move your chair further and further away from his bed, until you are sitting outside his bedroom with the door open. Depending on how severe his anxiety is, you could also use a sleeping bag instead of the chair.
If he gets in your bed at any point, immediately get up and walk him back to his room. Sleeping in his own bed needs to be a new rule that is very firmly followed — letting him backtrack really mars the progress that he is making. You may need to brace yourself for the next couple months, because this can take some hard work. Make sure to really praise your son for each gain. Try also to have a point system in place, where a certain amount of points equals a prize that is really motivating to him.
Remember this is also hard work for your son, and we want him to feel good about the strides he is making.
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