It’s a mid-week evening, you’re dying to sit with your feet up and relax, but the kids are jumping around on sofa beds, swinging from the light fittings and refusing to go to sleep.
It can be tempting to lose your cool, shout, or just close the door and pretend it isn’t happening. But what helpful techniques can you use for calming kids down at bedtime, so they slip off into dreamland quickly and peacefully, no matter how excitable they were moments ago?
We’ve suggested some tips and tricks to calm your kids at bedtime and allow you to put your feet up earlier than usual.
1) Read Aloud
If they’re of similar ages and common interests, gather them together and read one short chapter out loud from a book. If you’re not sure what kind of book might hold their attention, talk to the staff in a bookshop: they’re trained to help you find exactly what you’re looking for!
Allow them one chapter per night, and if it’s a gripping enough book to engage them they’ll quieten down to listen carefully, bringing down their energy levels to a manageable level before they drop off to sleep. By the time you’ve finished the chapter, they should be struggling to keep their eyes open!
2) Turn off the TV
About half an hour to forty-five minutes before you want your kids to go to bed, turn off the TV. The stimulation of the television can delay your child falling asleep due to the bright lights and loud noises. Make a bedtime routine which involves reading, listening to music, or making little crafts directly before bed: decrease the amount of sensory input so their brains can begin to quieten down.
3) Make a Schedule
Devise a nightly schedule with your children: get them involved in the creation so they own the process too. Write it up on a big board somewhere visible so they can look at it when they want. Keep the same bedtime every night if you can.
If you have a nightly routine, your children will feel comfortable knowing exactly how their evenings operate, and this will help to reinforce the tasks they need to complete before getting into bed. The routine will also help to relax them: they’ll know how to get ready for bed, and they’ll associate these actions with eventual sleep.
4) Put Toys Away
Make sure that tidying their toys away is a part of the bedtime routine. Not only will this result in a tidy bedroom, but it will also ensure that they’re not distracted or tempted to play with their toys when they should be trying to fall asleep.
It can be very stressful to have hyperactive children jumping around when they’re supposed to be tired and about to sleep. Try not to get stressed, and follow the above tips to help you on the way to peaceful bedtimes.
This is a guest post. Image used under creative comms licence credit John Morgan https://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/2448991089