Tucking in little ones to bed at night can seem to be a herculean parenting feat. Falling asleep can be even harder to help our little ones with…
We’ve all seen the victorious mother or father in television commercials or movies who turns the light switch off, only to hear “Mommy?” or “Daddy?” once more. While there are all types of family sleeping options, today I wanted to provide a few tips on how to help little ones sleep.
These tips are ones that our family of nine has put to practice time and time again.
6 Tips to Help our Little Ones when it comes to Falling Asleep
1. Establish a bedtime routine.
No matter what room, which bed, or the number of pillows, having a consistent bedtime routine empowers little ones to know what to expect. When the bedtime pattern is the same each night, children can anticipate and even take the lead in going through the routine. Even when children are in unfamiliar environments, having an order to bedtime preparation provides security.
For our family, bath, snack, teeth, bathroom, and books is a great order to get ready for bed each night. Whatever yours is, following the routine each night is a great tool in helping your child know that bedtime has arrived. If you’ve never followed a bedtime routine before, creating picture cards or a checklist can help establish the routine.
2. Make the bedtime routine enjoyable.
Whatever creative ideas you can use to make bedtime practices enjoyable can assist your child in knowing that bedtime is a great time. If you have a snack, give choices or serve on a special plate. If you are reading, allow your child to choose the book. While brushing teeth, try singing a silly song. These are just a few suggestions to help your little ones enjoy the bedtime routine instead of dreading it.
3. Establish an actual time for bed.
Our family has never been rigid about an actual time for bed, but we do have an acceptable half hour range according to the age of the child. We also allow for later bedtimes on holidays or during summer break from school. But even if your child can’t tell time, having a number assigned to bedtime can be a guide for you as the parent and keep bedtime from accidentally getting later and later.
4. Choose books that will help your child acknowledge bedtime.
Reading a book about the fastest race car known to man may not be the best book selection at bedtime, right?
Choose books with bedtime themes or soft rhyming words that will be easy on the ears. Sleep Sweet, My Little One is an adorable rhyming board book from popular author and speaker Patsy Clairmont in which a sleepy child plays in the glow of the moon and is thankful for the light it provides as it lulls him to sleep.
A book like this, with its soft watercolor illustrations and comforting text, is a wonderful way to calm young hearts to sleep. Talking about the choices we make at bedtime and the typical nighttime sights and sounds can be a great asset to helping your little one feel ready to lie down.
5. Provide lots of hugs and encouragement before bed.
Bedtime is one of the times I purposefully choose to use encouraging words and reflect on the positive events of the day. Receiving words of affirmation before bed will stimulate your child to be happy at bedtime.
6. Pray with your little one at bedtime each night.
Even when your babies are too little to pray for themselves, they are watching everything you do. “If praying is a good thing for Mommy or Daddy, then praying will be a good thing for me.” They learn so much by observation. My youngest daughter would lie down with her blanket and put her little hands together all on her own when she was 15 months old because she was in the habit of hearing Mama pray at bedtime.
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We’d love to read your tips for getting sweet little ones to bed at night. Won’t you share them with us? Sweet dreams!