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Family Life: 10 Best Tips To Make Bedtime A Breeze

Bedtime can be one of the most rewarding and equally stressful times of the day for any parent or carer out there. Finding the right tactics or strategies for getting through the time with a happy and refreshed child can prove to be troublesome at times, however these 10 expert-picked tips are here to ensure you have the best tools at your disposal for a successful bedtime.

#1 Animal Guardians

Each print portrays an animal guardian. The guardian protects against nightmares and nighttime fears that the child might have and should make it easier for the child to fall asleep, and make him or her feel protected through the night.

Contributor: Sara Lockertsen from etsy.com/shop/TreetopTales

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#2 Valuable Time Together

Children really look forward to bedtime when they know that they have to do everything needed to get ready for bed and be waiting in their beds in order to get to spend exclusive time with a parent totally focussed on them and not multitasking.

The time together can be spent valuably, sharing "Thorns and Roses" together, going over the child's most challenging thorn (difficult experience) and the most wonderful rose (a highlight) that he or she encountered that day.

It is a bonding time that children deeply appreciate for the rest of their lives.

Contributor: Bracha Goetz, Author of 37 books to help children's souls shine

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#3 Reward Systems

Our top strategy to help children with bedtime is an age-appropriate reward system. Young children earn points as they complete the bedtime routine and immediately get an extra story or song at bedtime. Older children earn points over the week and get to pick a special activity during the weekend. Points can be awarded for bathing, brushing teeth, picking up toys, and putting clothes in the hamper.

Contributor: Elizabeth Malson, President from AmsleeInstitute.com 

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#4 Bedtime Snacks

This can be easy like a bowl of blueberries or popcorn. Since everyone's schedule is so busy these days this can replace eating dinner together. This is a great time for everyone to share highs and lows of their day with the family. Along with something they are looking forward to the following day.

Contributor:  Lindsay Walter, MA, LPC from Emotionalgrowthstl.com 

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#5 Understand Frustrations

I think you have to understand why they're resisting and then solve that problem. Offer them something that makes the resistance fade; if your offer doesn't work, you're off target. Try again! It never hurts to ask why they won't go to sleep. Get them lying down in some way, or playing in bed, is half the battle. Nature takes over and they fall asleep.

Contributor: Randy Zinn from randy-zinn.com

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#6 Laughter

One little-known fact is that laughter helps kids sleep. Research has shown that laughter helps us release melatonin the sleep hormone. 

So one of the biggest mistakes parents make is thinking that bedtime should be slow and calm. Before that stage, children need to get wild and giggly, and may naturally instigate this if we let them.

Contributor: Kate Orson from handinhandparenting.org

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#7 Respect

Instead of imposing an arbitrary bedtime that must be followed by the kids every single night, and giving the kids the “I’m the parent you have to listen” treatment, parents should observe their children carefully and figure out the reasons why they don’t want to sleep.

With this understanding, parents can formulate better communicate strategy with their children, tackle the challenges together, and at the same time, show the children that they do care about them. Especially with older children, respect is a big thing. This has everything to do with a power struggle. If the parents can’t respect their children, we can’t expect the children to respect and listen to their parents. Once parents show understanding, love, and respect, most children will cooperate and listen in return.

Contributor: Carey Chan from babymozart.org

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#8 Offer Freedom And Choice

Everyone loves freedom, no one likes to be told what to do. From babies to school-age children, parents find that it’s much easier to get them to listen if you offer them a choice and give them the sense of freedom to choose. For example, when it comes to snacking options, instead of saying “no, you can’t have chips”, it’s always better to use positive language and offer a choice like “would you rather have yogurt or apple?”

The same concept when it comes to sleep, always offer them a choice. You could say something like “Would you like to sleep now or read a story first then sleep?” or “Would you like to play for another 10 minutes before we go to bed?” Yes, the child, especially an older one, might still refuse to go to bed; however, by giving them the sense of freedom, they feel less “pressured” and “forced”.

Contributor: Carey Chan from babymozart.org

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#9 Enforced Routines

Children love routine. They thrive on routine. That’s why having a pre-bedtime routine is so important, no matter what age the child is. You can start with a warm bath/shower, dim the lights in the house, play some peaceful music in the background, do some quiet games and readings together, and by the time everything is done, the kid knows it’s time for bed. This is a positive sleep habit that every family should strive for since babyhood.

The earlier you do it, the more the kid gets used to it, and the easier it gets to put them to bed because that’s the routine and that’s how things always work.

Contributor: Carey Chan from babymozart.org

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#10 Reading

Parents need to ensure that kids are off all electronic devices/screens at least 2 hours before bedtime so the blue light has less of an effect on melatonin production right before bedtime and kids are more likely to feel sleepy.

Choose to read books instead! Reading books about bedtime and characters gone to sleep is a great way to get younger children to want to do the same.

Contributor: Dr. Colleen Carroll from drcolleencarroll.com

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Written by James Metcalfe

Twenty year old writer living life on the south coast, struggles to tie his own shoelaces. Believes Toad is the real hero of the Mario universe.

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