📚5 Tips for Getting Your Kids to Sleep Quick
As a parent, bedtime should be the most relaxing time in your household. The kids are all tucked snugly in their beds, sleeping like the little angels they are, and you finally get a few minutes to relax before you start winding down for the night.
At least, that's what it should look like — but we know the reality. Bedtime can be one of the most stressful parts of your day. No one wants to brush their teeth, one kid has stolen the other one's pajamas, and they are out of bed every five minutes asking for a glass of water or for you to fight off the monster under their bed. By the time you get them to finally collapse from exhaustion, you're ready to tear your hair out.
We see you. We've been there, so here are some of our favorite tips for getting your kids to fall asleep quickly and relatively easily.
1. Shut Down the Screens
If you're anything like me, your idea of winding down for the night is mindlessly scrolling through social media on your phone. While this might work for an adult (spoiler alert: It's really bad for your sleep schedule) letting your little ones stay in front of their screens until bedtime can make it harder for them to fall asleep.
Electronic devices like phones and tablets all emit blue light. This blue light tricks your brain into thinking that it should be awake, so it doesn't produce the melatonin that you need to fall asleep. The same thing happens in kids, so they'll be wired up while you're trying to get them to settle down. Shut down the screens at least two hours before bed.
2. Build a Consistent Routine
Kids thrive on routine. In fact, when their routine gets changed or interrupted, it can lead to all sorts of behavioral conflicts. If you're trying to get your kids to fall asleep quickly at night, start by building a consistent routine that surrounds bedtime.
You can even start your bedtime routine by shutting off all screens. Then you've got baths, brushing teeth, an evening story, and finally bedtime. All of these activities should be geared toward a single goal — bedtime — and done at the same time every night to turn them into a routine.
3. Burn Off All That Energy
Kids, especially younger ones, have a lot of energy throughout the day. School-aged children don't get a lot of opportunities to burn that energy off, which can turn them into little Energizer Bunnies right around bedtime. Instead of spending the evening inside, make it a point to encourage outdoor active play to help them burn off some of that energy.
Now, more than ever, having an outlet for their energy is essential. In addition to burning off energy, stress helps to reduce stress and anxiety in children as well as improve physical fitness. It might seem like fun and games but it's an important tool to help your children maintain their physical and mental health in trying times.
4. Customize Their Bedtimes
If you have more than one kid, it's often tempting to pack them all off to bed at the same time. This will come back to bite you, though, especially if there is a significant age difference between your little ones. The amount of sleep a kid needs changes as they get older, so sending your 8-year-old to bed at 6 pm with your toddler isn't going to go over very well.
Adjust your bedtime routines depending on when each of your little ones needs to get to bed. This might mean that you're spending a good chunk of your evening sorting through bedtime stories and toothbrushes but it will help each of your kids fall asleep more easily because they won't be trying to do so too early.
5. Slay The Monsters
Were you afraid of a monster under your bed or in your closet when you were growing up? The chances are high that your little ones are too, so make sure you're taking whatever steps are necessary to slay their monsters so they can feel safe in bed.
This might mean checking under the bed to make sure that there isn't anyone there, closing the closet door tightly, or spraying down the room with monster repellant — water in a spray bottle with Monster Repellant label added to it — before you tuck them in for the night. Whatever works for your little ones to make them feel safe.
Be Patient As You Make Small Changes
This isn't a change that will happen overnight. You may still find yourself fighting with energetic children who just don't want to go to sleep until these changes start to become routine. Be patient with them and with yourself. It won't take long before bedtime is that relaxing part of the day that you've always dreamed of.