It’s ten minutes past bedtime, and your wiggly little one(s) are running naked down the hall instead of curling up under the covers in their jammies. What’s a mom (or dad) to do?
While every child – and every family – is different, there are a few things that can help. Here are my personally patented Five C’s for a Happy Bedtime:
1. Clean Up. Straighten, de-clutter, and keep it clean. Sleep hygiene makes a difference at any age. Create a calm and soothing bedroom environment with toys tucked neatly away – even if that means making cleanup part of the regular bedtime routine. Cleanliness also means allergens and health hazards like mold won’t make their way into your little ones’ dreamland.
2. Cut Up. Get the wiggles out during the day to avoid them at bedtime. Tickle them, chase them, play tag, get them outside. Exercise and fresh air during the day can make it easier for a little body to fall asleep in the evening.
3. Cuddle. Create a bedtime routine, and make snuggling part of it. Curl up together and read a book, or rock and sing a song. Wrapping up helps a child feel secure and relaxed, and signals the body to slow down from the rowdy pace of the day.
4. Clean Out. If you’ve got a little one who stays up all night reading or sneaks out of bed to play with toys, sometimes there’s nothing for it but to remove everything tempting from the bedroom. It doesn’t have to be forever, but removing that stimulus for long enough to set a new habit can make bedtime peaceful again.
… And if all else fails…
5. Con ‘em! Sometimes as a parent, creativity is key. I never thought I’d use the “Santa Clause is watching” gambit – but I have. Whether we like it or not, parenting has made us all con artists at one point or another. Bending that tendency to the service of a good night’s sleep isn’t such a bad thing… is it?
In my next five blogs I’ll unpack each of my five C’s one by one, so stay tuned!
What are your tips and tricks for a happy bedtime?