Tips & Tricks to Get Your Tots to Sleep Better (and You Too!)
As a parent, you understand the importance of great sleep for you and your kiddos. But as you probably know all too well, when your children are not sleeping well, neither are you — which leaves you all looking and acting like zombies.
Fortunately, if your toddlers or tweens are having a hard time settling down at night, there are a number of things you can try to help them — and you — get your needed amount of snooze. Check out the following ideas:
Invest in a new mattress
It can be hard to get a good night’s rest if your mattress is lumpy, bumpy and/or too small. If your preschooler is resisting going to bed, it might be because she has outgrown her toddler bed. In the case of older kids, their twin-sized mattresses, which may have been handed down over the years, could be old and uncomfortable. Do a “test rest” on the mattresses and see for yourself how comfy they are; if it is time to upgrade, involve your kiddos in the shopping process. Visit some local stores together and have your children try out a number of mattresses to see what they prefer in person. Once you have a good idea of what they like, you might consider ordering the mattress online.
Create consistent bedtime routines
Routines are especially important for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Set up and stick to a predictable bedtime routine that includes regular things like a warm bubble bath, story time with a couple of books, a small snack and/or tucking your child into bed with his favorite “lovey” like a teddy bear or blanket. A predictable bedtime routine is comforting and relaxing and can help set up their little bodies for an easy transition to sleep.
Teach them to fall asleep on their own
Despite a comfortable mattress and a cute stuffed animal, a dark bedroom can be a scary place for some kids. If you find that yours get clingy at bedtime and want you to sit with them until they drift off, it is important to teach them to fall asleep on their own. Not only is this a good skill to have in general, but it will also help them to self-soothe themselves back to sleep if they wake up at 2 a.m. from a dream or if their blankets have fallen off. Kids who are spooked by monsters under the bed may feel better by spraying “monster repellent” around their room — fill a colorful spray bottle with water and let them repel the bogeyman all they want. Then, once your kiddo is tucked in, tell him “I’ll be right back” and then leave for a minute or two before returning to his room. Over time, extend the amount of time that you are away, but be sure to keep your promise and return. After a couple of weeks, if all goes as planned, you should find that your child can now fall asleep alone. If they still end up in your bed at midnight now and then, stay strong — no matter how tired you are — and lead them back to their rooms. Tuck them back in bed, give them a hug and their favorite bear and use the “I’ll be right back” ritual again.
Good sleep is possible — for all of you
At the end of a long day, it can be tempting to skip the bedtime routine or let your sobbing child sleep next to you. But by trying the aforementioned tips, even when you are tired, you will ultimately be teaching your kiddos great sleep habits which will result in full nights of rest for all of you.