3 Common Bedtime Mistakes (and how to fix them)
I think every parent has experienced this scenario - it's your child's bedtime, and they are wired! Your baby is crying, your toddler is running around in circles, or your preschooler is asking you 7 million irrelevant questions (or some combination)! Why is this happening to youuuuu? Here are some common culprits.
1) Poor sleep hygiene
Let's set your child up for success before bedtime even starts! There are lots of things you can do to help their body relax as the end of the day draws near. Screen time should end 60-90 minutes before bedtime, as the blue light emitted by screens impedes melatonin production. A dim lamp will set the scene for a relaxing routine. Blackout curtains will ensure that the bedroom is as dark as possible for sleep time. A white noise machine helps mask the sounds coming from the rest of the house (especially important with those FOMO kiddos!). It's hard to sleep when it's too bright and too noisy!
2) No consistent bedtime routine
A consistent bedtime routine is important for mind and body. Doing it at the same time every night will cue your child's body that it's time to relax and get ready to sleep. Dim light helps your child's body produce melatonin, and snuggles help us all produce oxytocin, promoting bonding. Sharing a book is great for building early literacy skills. Big and Grown-up Monsters can also benefit from a bedtime routine of their own. (Put down the phone, peeps!)
3) Bedtime is too late
This is the #1 issue I usually see when parents report issues like the ones above. An overtired child looks an awful lot like an undertired one! They are full of energy and not interested in bed AT ALL. They have missed their sleepy window and are now running on cortisol. Some kids have an extremely short sleep window and if you miss it, you're sunk!
By the time a baby is 4 months old, bedtime should be between 6 and 8 pm. A handy rule of thumb is that bedtime should be 12 hours after waking for the day, assuming good naps. It may vary between 11-13h depending on the child and their needs at the time, so keep an eye out for a relaxed period between two bouts of wildness - that's their ideal bedtime!
3.5) Unclear or non-existent boundaries
I'm looking at you, toddler and preschooler parents! At some point, our little babies turn into miniature teenagers, and the game is totally turned on its head. If you are struggling with your 2-5 year old giving you hell at bedtime, check out my video on setting boundaries and limits!
If you are still struggling with your child at bedtime, book a free 15 minute call today, and let's get your family on the road to good sleep. I got you!!!