With our jam-packed, super-busy lives, getting a good night's sleep is more important than ever. Mighty Mommy shares 6 tips ways to make your family's bedtme routine a sleepy success.
Tip #4: Power Down
When you have younger kids, it’s easier to turn off electronics a couple of hours before bedtime because you have them engaged with bath time, brushing their teeth, and then snuggling in to read a favorite bedtime story. As our kids get older, however, powering down their electrical gadgets can be a struggle, especially because so many tweens and teens rely on these devices to help with homework as well as to stay connected with their friends.
See also: Kids and Technology
As mentioned in my episode, 5 Ways to Help Your Family Sleep Better, a good way to manage this is to sit your teenagers down and collectively agree on a reasonable time when your house will go into "quiet mode." You can adjust this to work with your kids' ages. In our family of mostly teens, we decided that TV, music, and other electronic gadgets would be turned off by 10pm on weekdays and 11pm on weekends. This took several weeks of consistent attempts, but we're now in the habit of powering off at roughly the same time each evening.
In addition to shutting down our electronics, we've also revamped our evening routine to include getting homework completed, making lunches for the next day, and getting outfits and backpacks ready well before bedtime. This way we can spend some time powering ourselves down before turning in rather than scurrying around like lunatics to get everything done.
Tip #5: Be Consistent 7 Days a Week
A routine of any kind doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you currently don’t have them in place. Sticking to a set bedtime for kids may be difficult for everyone at first. But you and kids adjust to the schedule, the benefits will be made clear. A consistent bedtime policy will be easier to enforce and kids’ internal clocks will also adjust to the schedule over time.
If your family is currently winging it every night and your kids are already out of the malleable baby age, it is still possible to implement a bedtime routine. You just have to be realistic about your expectations and don’t get frustrated when after day two, your kids are still trying to run the show and go to bed on their own terms.
Regardless of your children’s ages, start small. Let your toddler know that you have some fun new plans to get ready for bed. For older kids, explain that you’d like to help them get a better night’s sleep and in order to do that you’ll be “powering down” as a family (see Tip #4).
If you want a bedtime (or any other routine) to be effective, consistency is key, so commit to your plan for the long haul, 7 days a week and you’ll reap the benefits of less-stressful and more restful evenings for years to come. For more great info on establishing habits, check out the Savvy Phycologist’s great advice in her episode How to Make or Break a Habit.
Tip #6: Parents Need a Bedtime Routine, Too
Hey Mom and Dad, kids aren't the only ones who benefit from a good bedtime routine!
If you are on the go from morning until your exhausted head hits the pillow 12 hours later, you’re not doing yourself or your family any favors. Try a few of these habits to help you unwind and get a great night’s sleep.
Get yourself ready for work the night before as part of your bedtime ritual so you won’t be rushed in the morning. If you're a stay-at-home parent, get your work-out clothes ready for the next morning or have your first project for the day organized and ready to go.
Allow time to wind down and relax about an hour before your scheduled bedtime. Enjoy a warm bath or shower or spend some time reading.
Avoid working or doing anything physically demanding at least an hour before bed, including exercising.
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and a comfortable temperature.
Keep a gratitude journal and scribble some thoughts in there each night before bed. Think about what you are grateful for that day. This will feed your mind with positive thoughts before you drift off to dreamland.
See also: 11 Ways to Raise Grateful Kids
What kind of bedtime routine works for your family? Share your thoughts in the Comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mightymommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.
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