If there is anything I’ve learned since becoming a mother it is how important a well established sleep routine is to a young child. When my children were newborns we let them set their own schedule. We didn’t worry so much on time but let the baby lead our day. Eventually close to a year of age both of our boys would fall into a routine at night. If we varied from that sleep routine we would have less sleep and more tears. I was amazed that these two little beings basically put themselves on a schedule.
Inevitably there are nights and sometimes weeks at a time where we get off schedule. It could be teething, growth spurts, vacations, time changes, or even boundary testing. When we are off schedule it reflects not only in the night time, but also in the daytime through behavior issues. I would say it’s safe to say that changing our sleep schedule is the single most scary thing to our day to day.
With the day lights saving time having just happened I see post after post on Facebook complaining, cursing, and crying over the time change so I thought I’d share some tips to helping your child develop a sleep routine. I talked with a few of my favorite mom friends who have kids of all ages, and this is what we came up with!
1. Once you have a schedule – stick to it!
Ashley from Fiddle De Me keeps everything the same regardless of the change. Her kids wake up a bit earlier for a few days but pretty soon they are back to normal.
I agree with that tip wholeheartedly. For us our schedule stays the same even through the time change and looks like this:
- For Baby D (15 months old) that looks like: Bottle/Nursing, bath (if bath night), brush teeth, nighttime diaper, pajamas, songs or book, bed with lights out.
- For K (age almost 5) that looks like dinner, bath(if bath night), potty, brush teeth, pajamas, books, music, quietly play in bed until sleep.
2. Shut off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
“With the time change, we started adjusting the kids bedtime a little each day. Make sure there is no TV, no electronics before bed – just books and cuddles!” – Melissa Sippy Cup Mom
3. Provide positive reinforcement.
For us, one major hiccup for us was when we say goodbye to the crib and switch to the toddler bed. Suddenly my son no longer needed mommy/daddy to get out of bed. He exercised his new freedom often. We tried EVERYTHING. For us what worked was a reward chart that provided positive reinforcement and a compromise for a quiet toy to be allowed in bed. As long as he stayed in bed he was welcome to read or play with 1 toy quietly.
When we started our reward chart was very similar to this and when we got to the end of it he was allowed to go to a fun play place or park to go to.
Or if you have an older child who needs something more involved try this chart. It’s perfect for older kids who understand more about responsibilities.
4. Make sure their rooms are sleep friendly. Dim lights, music, white noise, and blackout curtains help. I seriously don’t know what I would do without Baby D’s sleep machine!
“We had to go with black out curtains in Q’s room pretty because the sun was getting him up early and man does it rise EARLY in the summer!” – Karen Desert Chica Ramblings
5. Talk to your children about bedtime and let them know what your expectations are. This is especially helpful with Daylight Savings Time.
“We tell the kids about Daylight savings time, and let them know that the sun’s going to be out later in the day than before, but that we still go off of what TIME it is for bed time. Dark curtains & blinds are a must too!” – Hanan – Eat. Craft. Parent.
When nothing else works….
Sometimes no matter what we as parents do our children have a really hard time getting rest. Zarbee’s the makers of my favorite natural cough syrup has recently released a product called children’s sleep.
“Zarbee’s Naturals Children’s Sleep, for children 3 years +, helps reset the occasional hiccups in bedtime routines, like Daylight Savings Time, traveling and even sleepovers.” If your child has trouble establishing a routine and you’ve tried all these tips check with your pediatrician about using Zarbee’s Children’s Sleep.
I love our sleep routine and I don’t know what we’d do without it. When my husband deploys I work really hard to make sure we stick to it while he is gone and like the rest of the year it really makes a world of difference. When my boys sleep well they have better days, if they have better days, I have better days! That said it always amazes me that about an hour after putting them to bed, I can’t help but to sneak into their rooms and watch them sleep. They just look so peaceful – Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby?
How do you help your children to get a good nights rest?
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received product samples and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
Latest posts by Emily (Posts)
- Don’t Call It A Comeback - February 7, 2019
- The Little Prince at The Smith Center Las Vegas – Ticket Giveaway - January 31, 2017
- 3 Simple Ways To Add Color To Your Diet @SUBWAY @OfficialSubway - January 13, 2017
- Disney’s Moana in Dolby Cinema at AMC Movie Review - November 27, 2016