You’re tired, so why aren’t they?
For some families, this can be the hardest time of day.
This edition of Tenderfoot’s Tip Toes offers some tips for making bedtime successful and enjoyable for everyone. The attached article from www.challengingbehavior.org highlights suggestions that include:
- Make outside play and physical activity part of your child’s everyday routine.
- Develop regular times for naps and bedtime and stick with them.
- Create a regular routine that is repeated before each bedtime and naptime.
- Give your child your undivided and unrushed attention.
- Avoid certain foods and drinks (soda, chocolate, salty) foods 6 hours before sleep.
- Reduce light and distractions in your child’s room.
- Keep a sleep diary to see what is working and what is not.
Most of those you probably heard before, so let’s take a closer look at creating the bedtime routine with your child….
Your bedtime routine should include:
- Doing and saying the same things before naps and bedtime.
- Establishing a predictable place for sleeping.
- Helping your child understand the steps in the routines (e.g., use “first, then” statements, picture schedule).
- Telling your child what might happen when she wakes up.
- Letting your child carry a favorite transition object to bed.
- Providing your child with calming and rest inducing activities, sounds, or objects in the routine.
- Putting your baby or child down for sleep while she is still awake. Saying, “Good night” and leaving the room.
Bedtime is the perfect time for reading books with your child! Not only is it the best way to help your child gain the skills necessary to learn to read, it is a great way to connect emotionally. Using books to help children understand the world around them is a powerful way of supporting their social-emotional development. Reading books about “hot topics” helps children make connections and learn the words to talk about a particular subject. For example, having a new sibling can be stressful for a child, reading a book about it at bedtime can help them manage those feelings. The physical closeness of reading in bed with your child helps them calm and focus while associating reading with loving feelings that lays the foundation for a lifelong love of reading!
Families can even write their own stories to read at bedtime! The books can be simply worded, using the child’s name, and easily illustrated with drawings or photos. Reading the same book over and over about a topic pertinent in a child’s life can help them learn expectations and how to behave appropriately. These stories are called “social stories” and are like self-help books for little kids!
Check out https://depts.washington.edu/hscenter/families, scroll down on this website to the heading “Social Stories.”
Need more resources? Try this http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/sleep/