Sunday, December 6, 2009

Getting Kids to Bed on Time (and getting them to stay there)

I have four children and it's not always easy to get them to sleep, but I want to encourage those of you trying that it really is possible with a little effort and persistence on your part.

1. Routine.

Bed time for mine is 9:30 pm. My husband thinks they should be sleeping a little sooner, which probably is the right thing, but for now this is their time. We didn't always have this established for them, but as their bed times began to get later and later, we agreed that we'd set a time for them. Starting off definitely wasn't an easy thing, but persistence pays off.

2. Wear them out

Not only is being active good for keeping kids healthy and in shape, but it's a good way to really get them to sleep. When we take our kids to the playground or otherwise let them just really play around, it's a given that they're going to get tired and want to sleep. Just be careful not to let them get off to sleep to soon, because they may end up wanting to wake up in the middle of the night or too early the next morning as a result.

3. Keep them warm

I've heard it said that as a natural process, your body's temperature raises a bit to get you sleepy. Well you can help this process along when it comes to your children. A nice warm bath before bed or something warm to drink should do the trick.

4. No sweets before bed

This is sure to give them more energy where they'll want to stay up and play. If they're hungry before bed, try snacks that don't have sugar such as vegetables or peanut butter crackers. Also be sure to not let them overdo it because it's quite difficult to sleep on a full stomach as well.

5. Lights out.

Sometimes when we send our children to bed we hear them just gabbing away and have found several times that they have the lights on. Once we have them turn them off and just hush, they're asleep very shortly thereafter. Now if you have a child who is afraid of the dark, a small nightlight and/or stuffed animal seems to do the trick.

I've written this post in response to this one over at Twittermoms where the first 100 bloggers have a chance to win prizes from St. Eve's Kids. I've also been asked to direct you to Drama U where there are some cute little toons that you can check out and an interesting contest going on that you can enter.