Kids spend a majority of their day sleeping. But actually getting them to wind down and go to sleep is not an easy task for most parents. It also seems that the more tired kids get, the more wound up they get. So when they miss that magic sleepy time, it might be even harder to get them to go to sleep.
How do you get your child to wind down before bed?
I was having a hard time getting my older daughter to go to bed after her sister was born. Part of that, I'm sure, was just that having a new baby can wreck havoc on any schedule. But it was also that she wasn't getting enough "Mommy time."
At the time, she was 2 and a half, so she was starting to be able to sit still long enough to read books. We went to the library and stocked up on short, easy to read kids books. I especially like the learning to read books at a level 1. They were short enough that they kept her interest and then we could switch to a new book.
I would put the baby to be around 7:30pm and then my older daughter and I would read a few books for about 10-15 minutes. We got Mommy Daughter bonding time, reading time, and winding down for bedtime all in one. It worked really well and I have my sister in law to thank for the recommendation.
Here is what other moms have to say about getting their kids to wind down for bedtime.
Advice and Stories from Real Moms
Lots of homework
My kids are usually pretty tired at bedtime (lots of homework and early middle school hours), so getting them to wind down is not a problem! - Lauren from Mom Home Guide
Read them a bedtime book
I always read my kids a bedtime book. Each kid gets to pick a book and then after book time, it's bedtime. I can definitely tell a difference getting my kids to sleep if we try to skip book time. I like to pick books that teach my kids something I want them to learn - eating vegetables, going to sleep, not being afraid of the dark.
This is a really cute book about going to bed - The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton.
Turn off the electronics
Bath time is a couple of hours before bed rather than close to bedtime. We also try to turn off the tv and other electronics to cut down on that sort of stimulation. Right before bed, we read 3-5 short board books, and then we snuggle with him until he falls asleep. - Donella from Wife.Mom.Geek.
They act differently with each parent
The easiest way to make my daughter to wind down at bedtime is to let her stay with her dad in the living room, while I go reading in the bedroom. When she is with me, she just wants to dance or jump around, but when she is alone with her dad, she takes her blankie and lays down. In just 10 minutes she is ready for bed! - Marina from Parental Journey
Establish a bedtime routine
My husband winds them UP! So, avoid handing them over to a winder-upper! Seriously though - establish a bedtime routine - we clean rooms, bathe, dress in pjs, brush teeth, then have family scripture study and prayer. Read them a story. Then send them to bed! - Valerie from Occasionally Crafty
Go To Bed Chart
I love this one because it's a large, colorful vinyl sticker with a dry erase marker. You can put it in there room or bathroom and they can put a check mark when each item is accomplished.
Quiet play time
We have a nice quiet play, bath time, stories, milk and cuddles! - Nikki from Play Learn Every Day
Thank you Moms!
Each child is different, so you have to experiment and see what works for you. Don't despair if one thing doesn't seem to work. Keep trying until you find something that will work for your kid.
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