Having a bedtime routine is one good way to ensure your preschool-aged child gets a good night’s sleep.
Children respond very well to routines in their daily schedules, and bedtime is no exception. Having a bedtime routine gives your child an opportunity to wind down from the day’s activities and not be as likely to fight your efforts to get them to go to bed.
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Getting children this age to bed can sometimes feel like an overwhelming chore especially with children that require using the best BiPAP machine. Supernanny makes it look so easy. I don’t claim to have all the answers. All children are different and respond to different routines. My goal is to share with you our family’s bedtime routine that has worked well with our twin four-year-old boys.
Some parents start a bedtime routine by having their children take a bath. My boys don’t take a bath every day, but bath time is a good way to signal to your kids that it’s almost time for bed. I usually start bath time about an hour before it’s time to head off to their bedroom to get ready for bed.
I send my boys to their bedroom an hour before I want them to go to sleep. They get their pajamas on, brush their teeth, and then we read a couple of stories together. They each get to pick at least one story. Sometimes I read to them and sometimes their dad reads to them. Often we read to them at the same time.
A fun way to mix things up a bit is to listen to books on tape. There are a number of great books on tape for preschool-aged children. A number of them are published by Scholastic.
After stories, our boys often still aren’t ready to go to sleep. We usually then turn off the lights and let them play with their Leapster video games for about 15 minutes or so. This helps them burn out their last little bit of energy before they’re ready to go to sleep. They usually tell us they’re ready to go to sleep before we take their games away from them.
One of our boys falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Our other son has a really hard time falling asleep. We let him take a few small toys to bed and he plays with them and talks to himself until he is finally ready to fall asleep.
Our boys like us to lie with them until they fall asleep. This is something you have to be careful of according to emsafety…if your children become dependent upon you sleeping with them, this can be the start of a habit that is very hard to break.
Many young children start waking up in the middle of the night and wanting you to sleep with them. You definitely don’t want to encourage this. We just finished going through a stage where our boys would wake up in the middle of the night and want us to sleep with them.
They’ve finally started sleeping in their own beds all night again. We do lie with them until they fall asleep, and then they do stay in their beds all night (for the most part!). I really enjoy lying next to them while they fall asleep. It is a special time for us to spend together and often a time for silly songs and stories.
Bedtime routines do take a commitment on your part to get your kids ready for bed each night. You will have to get in the habit of reading them stories and sit talking to them as they get ready to go to sleep.
While it is indeed time consuming, it can become one of the best parts of the day. The more your child enjoys this time, the easier time he or she will have going to sleep each night.