Getting your child to bed can seem like an impossible task at times, which is why we’ve put together these practical tips to help keep bedtime as drama-free as possible. Whether you’re battling the bogeyman or trying to cut down on screen-time, take a read – you might just find a life-changing solution!
Offer acceptable options
Toddlers may constantly try and see how far they can push their independence – which is fine as long as you ultimately remain in control. Offer them choices at bedtime where possible. For example, ask “do you want to wear the striped pyjamas or the ones with the dinosaur on?”. The key is to offer two choices rather than asking an open-ended question. And only ask the question once!
Sometimes only bribery will work. If your toddler is stalling, promise them an extra story at bedtime if they get a move on, but make sure you stay within their usual timings. Try something like “Look! It’s 7:30! If you brush your teeth now we’ll have time for an extra story before lights out at 8!”. They’ll have more to look forward to once they get into bed but only if they stop dilly-dallying.
Limit screen time
Yep. Easier said than done. Research has shown that a whopping 89% of kids play with a screen or watch TV before going to bed, however it has been scientifically proven that the blue light emitted by phones, TV, tablets and computers suppresses melatonin – the hormone responsible for controlling the sleep/wake cycle. Try putting the screen down an hour before bedtime; it can help children settle quicker, especially if they have a habit of getting out of bed soon after you’ve said goodnight.
Do the night shift
If you just can’t do away with the tablet before bed, tone down the blue-light effect by checking if it’s got a ‘night shift’ option. Some phone and tablet screens can be changed to emit a more yellow-toned light which is much less glaring in the evening darkness.
Arm them with tools
If your child is afraid of the dark or is convinced the bogeyman is hiding under the bed, and a nightlight just isn’t cutting it, look for a more creative solution. Try a spray bottle filled with ‘monster spray’ or give them a big cuddly toy for ‘protection’ – sometimes the reassurance is all they need to settle down and get to sleep.
A helping hand
Toddlers love to help out – so put their little hands to good use at bed time by getting them involved in pre-bedtime tasks. Whether that’s fetching their own pyjamas from the cupboard or putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket, encouraging them to be useful can help stop them stalling. You can turn it into a game by listing out different tasks and rewarding them for each ‘good’ bedtime.
Let us know your best tip for getting your child to bed – you might just be saving another parent’s sanity!