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Friday, August 19, 2016

Beat the Bedtime Battles by Trisha Roberts

Beat the Bedtime Battles

Beat the Bedtime Battles!

One frustration I hear expressed repeatedly by parents is, “I have such a hard time getting my kids to go to sleep—it's a Battle!” Now that children are returning to school, it is even more important to ensure that kids get the sleep they need.  From my own experience I have found that having a nighttime routine is very helpful.  Children learn the routine and are much more likely to fall asleep when they know what to anticipate. A scheduled bedtime also ensures that your child is getting the necessary hours of sleep required for good health.  If school has not started for your family yet, it is always a good idea to start practicing the school bedtime schedule at least a week before school starts, as kids usually have enjoyed a later bedtime during the summer break.

 Your routine can be anything you want depending on the age of your child and the amount of time you feel that you can spend each evening.  The goal is to be CONSISTENT. When each activity has been completed, they know that sleep time has arrived!  It is like reading a book:  there is a beginning, a middle and an end.  When the routine ends, it is time to sleep!

This was my Bedtime Routine:

Bathtime before Bed
·     BATHTIME:  Taking an evening bath is a great way to let a child relax and unwind.  They have a final time to play in a restricted environment (as opposed to running all over the house!).  For me, evening baths were always easier than morning baths when everyone is on a tight schedule for getting out the door to work, school, or appointments. 

·   PREPARATION FOR TOMMOROW: After bath, while kids are putting on their PJ’s, I found it helpful to plan my child’s outfit for the next day.

Select outfit the night before

Select clothes before bedtime

      I would offer 2 options (which were perfectly acceptable to me), and then let my child choose which outfit they wanted.  This allowed them an opportunity to learn decision making and also eliminated a fight in the morning!

·        SNUGGLE TIME: I loved having a large rocking chair in my children’s room when they were young.  It was a great place to curl up together, to experience cuddles, kisses and connection.

Reading Stories helps beat the Bedtime Battles

Reading before Bedtime
      People need touch. Children need touch!
 Recent studies have shown that
it is critical to a child’s development. 
 The famous
      Monkey Studies by Harry Harlow
showed that when deprived of a mother’s 
      touch, monkeys did not 
develop good social skills and
 actually developed many 
aberrant behaviors.

Daddy snuggles are part of Bedtime Routine

Snuggle time with Mom before BedtimeBedtime massage

      Gently rubbing or massaging your child’s back, arm or legs can help them relax as well as feel loved and cared for.

·        SHARING:  Talk about their day throughout your bedtime preparations.  Ask open-ended questions like, “What was the best thing that happened today?”  “What did you see today that made you happy/sad?” “What did you learn today?”

Reading at Bedtime·     

 READ: Let your child pick 2 or 3 books to read. Many studies have shown the correlation of early exposure to books and stories with earlier and higher levels of literacy and success in school.  Children who love reading tend to learn to read earlier.  Children who read well                                                   usually do better in school.
Beat the Bedtime Battles with Story time


SING: Sing 1-2 songs together.  Children’s songs, hymns, pop music, whatever you and your child like.  We have several great products at our retail site:

Children's bedtime prayersPrayer time at bedtime·        PRAY:  Give your child an opportunity to express thankfulness.
      Let your child think about others and their needs. Help them recognize that God created them, cares about them
      and wants to be their Forever Friend.

·   KISSES AND LIGHTS OUT:  A final kiss and hug and then “lights out”.  Make it clear that this is the end.  Walk out of the door and don’t return.  There may be crying at first, but your child will learn that whining and crying can’t manipulate their parents into returning!  You don’t need to feel guilty and “cave in”!  You have just spent quality one-on-one time with your child.  You are now helping them meet a very important need in their life—sleep!

Daddy Kisses at Bedtime

Bedtimes don’t need to be a Battle!  They can be a wonderful time to develop a strong parent-child relationship.  As you talk, laugh, share, sing, read, and pray you will create cherished memories. It is a golden opportunity to bond and connect!

No More Bedtime Battles

 Author:  Trisha Roberts

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