**My boys like to chitchat all night long, so this guest post is very timely and helpful for me, too! ~Kelli
If you’re experiencing a nightly power struggle as you try to get your little ones off to bed, you’re not alone. Difficulty with children’s bedtimes is a common, and exhausting, parental woe. It doesn’t have to be like this however, by following a few simple guidelines a peaceful, child-free evening can be a reality of your near future.
Get their bedroom ready for sleep
Before you start thinking about how to handle your child differently at bedtime, stop and take a look at their bedroom. Is it currently providing a suitable environment for sleep? This room needs to be a haven of relaxation, with toys secured away so they won’t be a tempting distraction each night. Avoid using their bedroom as an area for time-out punishments; this space needs to be associated with calm. You should also make sure that a bedroom is dark enough to encourage your child’s sleep hormone when they lie down to bed each night. If your child is scared of the dark, a night light is more sensible than leaving the door open which can lead to disruption from the rest of the household.
Encourage peace and quiet
The bedtime routine should begin long before your child snuggles into bed. A successful bedtime routine involves winding your child down and encouraging a peaceful atmosphere throughout the house in the run-up to tuck-in time. This means gentle activities (like reading or talking together) rather than role-play or computer games. If you have older children make sure they’re aware it’s time to quiet down for the evening; it might not be their bedtime yet, but it should be time for the whole family to turn their volume down. Wherever the bedtime routine begins, perhaps in the living room as they get in their pajamas and have a bedtime drink, try to adjust the environment to suit a pre-bed atmosphere, dimmed lighting is a great example.
Consistency is key
Once you begin to encourage a sense of calm before bed, the next step is to start developing a steady routine. Consistency is vital to bedtime success so make sure you can stick to the routine you start. Make your children aware of the routine too, explain what is happening next by giving them a few minutes warning each time. For example, inform them it will be 10 minutes until they put on their pajamas and when in their pajamas explain that it will be 2 minutes until they clean their teeth. Once a routine is developed you then need to be persistent, which can be the biggest bedtime challenge. When your child gets out of bed, simply take them back calmly and tuck them in again, avoid talking to them; this should not be a time for punishment or affection, but should be a robotic act of simply placing them back where they should be. If you keep doing this, they will learn that getting out of bed does not get them any attention!
Author Bio: This article was brought to you by Silentnight’s discount mattress site – Mattress.co.uk. They are dedicated to providing information on how to get a great night’s sleep.