Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges any parent faces is putting their little ones to bed. It’s natural for children to want to stay awake. Whether your child is six years old and afraid he’ll miss out on something, or your child is just a few months old and can’t stand to be alone, there are a number of ways you can make bedtime go a little more smoothly.
Consistency & Environment
First off, be consistent. If you always put your child to bed at a different time or in a different place, chances are that he’ll feel afraid to fall asleep. Whether you put your child to bed at 8:00 or at 10:00 is up to you, but try to make sure that it is always at the same time and in the same place. If you play music for your child, always play the same song so he learns to associate it with bedtime and sleeping.
Next, follow a bedtime routine each night. This doesn’t have to be long and drawn out. It does, however, need to be something you can reasonably do each day. For example, some parents choose to rock their child in a rocking chair, read them a story, and sing a special song before bed. Others start the bedtime routine with a warm bath. Find something that works for your family and follow the bedtime routine each night. Make sure you write down the routine for any babysitters you may have so your child feels safe even if you aren’t home.
Comfort Temperature & Light
Finally, make sure your child feels comfortable. Some children can’t sleep if their bedroom is too quiet, so consider running an air purifier or small fan in their room. A night light is also a good investment for children who are scared of the dark. Additionally, make sure your child isn’t too warm or cold. If you have a little one who tends to kick off his blankets at night, consider purchasing a sleep sack to keep your child warm even if he kicks off his blankets.
Remember that while putting your child to bed can be scary and frustrating, the truth is that your child simply wants to spend more time with you. Try to be patient even if you feel overwhelmed or anxious about getting your child to fall asleep. While coming up with a consistent routine can take time, it will happen eventually.