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Health and Fitness News

An End to Bedtime Battles

How you can create a peaceful bedtime routine for your kids.

You’ve read them a bedtime story, tucked them in, and turned off the light. It’s time for some peace and quiet for Mom and Dad, right? Dream on. In many homes, bedtime is a battle that lasts for hours. When the kids finally fall asleep, hours have passed, and Mom and Dad are exhausted. Sound familiar? There is a better way.

For some reason, many kids put up a fight at bedtime. When the lights go out, a myriad of excuses, fears, and questions pop up out of nowhere. Parents do anything to keep their kids quiet. Sadly, it seems none of the efforts work.
What can parents do to create a bedtime routine that works better for the entire family?

All About Routine

A routine is something you do each day. When it comes to kids and bedtime, they need a nightly routine that’s always the same. This way they know what to expect, how to act, and how their parents will respond. Start with turning screens off at least an hour before bedtime. Give a five-minute warning before it’s time to get ready for bed. Have your child take a bath, brush teeth, and get pajamas on. Then read a book and sing a song together. Finally, give kisses goodnight.

Avoid Battles

Many kids become more talkative at bedtime. Suddenly, they have big questions and big fears that demand your undivided attention. Set aside time during the day to talk about what’s on your child’s mind. Before tucking them in, ask whether they’re hungry, thirsty, need to potty, or have a question. Once that’s taken care of, there should be no reason to get out of bed.

Address Fears and Worries

Many bedtime battles stem from fears and worries that can complicate bedtime. Some kids fight bedtime because they don’t feel tired. Maybe the rest of the family is watching television and they don’t want to miss out. Or perhaps bedtime is associated with fears and worries. Maybe your child fears the dark, being alone, or being awake while the rest of the family sleeps. These fears can be overwhelming. To combat them, a child may go to absurd lengths to get their parents’ attention.

When anxious thoughts keep a child from going to bed, parents can do several things. Teach your child child relaxation techniques. Examples include progressive muscle relaxation, imagery, and deep breathing. Patiently talk with them about their fears and reassure them they’re safe. Let your child listen to soothing music or an audio book to help them fall asleep. Leave a nightlight on.

Rules are Rules

Children function best and feel safest when they know what to expect and what’s expected of them. When it comes to bedtime, consistency is key. Once the routine is set, fears are addressed, and the rules are made clear, be firm and calm as you enforce bedtime rules. After the lights are turned off, there are no more snacks, hugs, or stories. No matter how cute they are, don’t give in. Otherwise, your child will learn that if they beg or throw a fit, they can get what they want.