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Getting a child to go to sleep can be a difficult task at times. With so much to see and do it can seem like sleep is the last thing on a child's mind! However, a failure to instil a positive bedtime routine with children can cause various problems.
It is important to come up with a set evening routine as soon as possible for children, with consistent bedtimes and regular pre-sleep activities. This will help the child to clearly associate the time of the day with winding down and relaxing. Activities could include things like reading, listening to gentle music (lullabies) or having a warm bath, all of which will help create a serene and sleep-friendly atmosphere. Making the routine positive and fun will reduce the chances of occasional resistance!
Creating a relaxing bedroom environment will also go a long way to making bedtimes more appealing to children. Sedate colours and a cosy bed make the bedroom a comforting space that children will feel calm in. Removing toys and games from sight, even just into a tidy toy box, can help to encourage a more relaxed atmosphere and reinforce the idea that night-time is for slowing down and sleeping.
Sleep requirements vary a lot for children as they grow, but the quality of the sleep they receive is absolutely vital to their physical, mental and emotional development. Without the right amount of regular good quality sleep, children will struggle throughout the day with low energy and their waking hours will be spent grouchy and tired. By maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle for your child with plenty of fresh air and natural light on a daily basis, you’re helping to expend energy at the right time and ensuring that when it comes to bedtime they’ll be ready to settle down.
Establishing a positive and enjoyable bedtime routine will help avoid a nightly battle, as well as resulting in a healthier and happier child.