If you have a toddler, no doubt you have some sort of nightly battle at bedtime. Toddlers are notorious for wanting to stay awake, even when they are exhausted. When they are tired, toddlers behave a lot worse than they do when they’ve had a good night of sleep, which is why it is really important we make sure your little one is sleeping right through.
That’s before we even talk about the impact poor sleep has on you. It is actually vitally important you have a good night of sleep, because lack of sleep leads to poor health. You’re more likely to be depressed or have a weight problem if you aren’t getting the recommended seven to ten hours of sleep a night.
That’s not always possible, especially when you have little ones. But once your children reach a certain age, we’re sure you expect to have a good night of sleep again.
But how can you get your kiddie into bed, and how do you keep them there!
Here are our top tips.
- Create a space your child wants to spend time in
Lots of the time, when kids get out of bed at night, it’s because they aren’t completely comfortable in their bedroom.
You can change this by making your child’s bedroom somewhere they want to be.
If they’re old enough, the best way to do this is to ask them how they want their bedroom decorated, then letting them help you to do it.
Making your child’s bedroom an amazing place to be changes their opinion of it from a place where you make them do something boring – like go to sleep – to a place where they spend lots of time having fun and making memories.
Car Bed Shop can help you with this if you have a little one who really likes cars. Our car shaped beds come with LED lights and sound effects, and can be purchased alongside a range of decorative items, such as furniture and bed covers. You can literally transform your child’s bedroom into a garage.
If cars are not your child’s ‘thing’, there are loads of ideas online to transform your kid’s bedroom; from pirate ships to fairy castles.
- Set a proper bedtime routine
It can be difficult to get your little one into a routine, especially when it comes to bed. But children need routine, because it tells their body and their brain when they need to do certain things, and sleep is no less of a habit than eating and going to the toilet.
A sleep routine is important for adults and children. Incorporating a range of things you do every night at the same time before you go to bed gets your body in the mood for sleep, and the same happens when you give your child a sleep routine.
Bedtime activities might include taking a bath, brushing your teeth, drinking a warm drink, and reading a bedtime story. If you incorporate these actions into a daily routine, your child will learn to recognise that it’s almost time for bed, they’ll become more relaxed, their mind will be calm, and hopefully they’ll be prepared for sleep, and therefore more likely to stay in bed all night.
Part of your bedtime routine should certainly be sticking to the same bedtime every night, and rising at the same time on a morning.
- Cut the sugar and other processed foods
Foods that are high in sugar have a huge effect on your child and their energy levels, and these might give your child a fitful night.
Cutting the amount of sugar your little one eats can be difficult, because humans are hard-wired to enjoy foods that are full of nasties.
If your child insists on something sweet, try sugar free snacks, or foods that contain natural sugars, such as fruit.
It might take you a little time to negotiate sweets out of your child’s diet, but persevere and it will be worth it.
- Stop the napping
We know you’re exhausted and it can be easier to let your child fall asleep in the afternoon than to deal with their bad mood, but if your child is waking in the night, it might be because they’re sleeping too much during the day.
You might have to reduce their napping time at first, then slowly work your way towards removing them altogether.
- Help your child feel brave
A lot of children say they’re afraid at night, and that’s why they wake up and come to look for you.
If this is the case, try rewarding your child for being brave.
If they’re scared of the dark, you can give them a nightlight. If it’s noise they are concerned about, try giving them some sleep sounds. We find that waves, rain or crackling fire noises work best. They will help your child tune out any other noises that might wake them up.
We absolutely recommend you protect your child from anything on the television or computer games that might be frightening them. Stick to cartoons, and other kid friendly programmes.