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How to Create a Bedtime Routine That Works

 

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How to Create a Bedtime Routine That Works

 

I’m sure you already have a bedtime routine in place. It probably goes something like this: The moment your kids hear “time to go to bed” they come up with as many excuses as they can to delay bedtime. These excuses turn into endless nagging and negotiations that leave you frustrated because you’ve had a long day and all you can think about is that moment when your children sleep and you can finally have a moment to yourself. The end result is cranky kids plus a cranky mother.
As mothers, we need to tackle this issue head on not only because sleeping early is healthy for our kids and necessary for them to function and concentrate at school the next day, but because we value our sanity. And because when mom is happy, everyone is happy.
Try these tips to create a bedtime routine that leaves you free instead of frazzled.

 

Cut Out Sugar Before Bedtime

You know how I feel about sugar. In addition to all the other health issues associated with sugar consumption, consuming sugar makes kids hyper, which makes it difficult for you to put them to bed when you need to.

Eliminate sugar at least 3-4 hours before their bedtime. This helps the kids to relax and become ready to sleep.

 

Create Their Routine Together

Your kids’ bedtime routine actually starts when they get home from school. When kids come back from school or daycare, they have a few hours left before they go to bed and that’s when the countdown starts.

Sit down with your kids and create a calendar with chunks of time based around what needs to be done between the time they come home and when they need to sleep. Typically there is homework, eating, activities, recreation time (TV or electronics), bathtime, maybe some kind of spiritual practice, story time and finally sleep. By involving your kids in this process, they feel like a “grown up” and are more committed to what they create. Put up the routine timetable somewhere visible, so that they can see it all the time.

Be sure to be open to their routine suggestions even if it might not make sense to you. I once had a client who read to her kids every night. But every time she read to them, instead of falling asleep they would become re-energized! It was driving her up the wall, until one day her son told her that reading the bedtime story right before bed makes him excited and unable to sleep! Accordingly, they decided to read their bedtime story one hour before bedtime.

 

Give them a Warm Bath

Yes! In the same way that warm baths soothe us and help us unwind, so they do the same for our kids to help them relax and get into sleep mode. Dim the light of the bathroom and give them a bath to calm them. This would also be a great time to read them a story.

 

Be Consistent

As much as you can, stick with the bedtime routine as agreed upon everyday unless there is something completely out of your hands that comes up! Kids function much better on a routine and system. It gives them a sense of security and stability. This would also be a great place to use a rewards chart to give them incentives to re-enforce their new habit.

 

How much sleep do your kids need?

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Dana Dinnawi

Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.

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