When your child was a newborn, you totally took for granted how easy it was for him to fall asleep anytime, anywhere and to sleep through nearly anything. My, how things have changed. Now bedtime is often filled with protest and struggle, fighting sleep at every turn.
Here are a few strategies to help bring back the peace to bedtime.
Create a Soothing Sleep Space
Set the stage for good sleep by creating a soothing environment, free of distractions. Make an effort to keep toys out of sight in storage bins or out of reach on high shelves, and always clean up before bedtime to ensure the room presents minimal distractions.
As for your child’s sleep space, consider what works and what doesn’t work for your family. For instance, if your child seems uncomfortable in his crib and wakes often in it, perhaps it’s time to upgrade to a more plush mattress. Since crib mattresses are consistently firm for safety reasons, you can instead buy a regular mattress and lay it directly on the ground to create a Montessori-style floor bed. Since the bed is on the floor, there is minimal worry risk if the child rolls out of bed. As an added benefit, a floor bed can be more comfortable for you when snuggling with your child before bed or during any night wakings.
Encourage Lots of Play During Bath time
Bath time can be about more than just getting clean. Make it an opportunity to get your child’s creativity flowing with toys that engage the mind, while also exhausting some energy. Foam alphabet and number sets are a great way to make bath time a learning experience. Boon has a wide assortment of highly engaging bath toys that are visually pleasing, like the company’s Cogs and Pipes bath sets, which encourage building and learning cause and effect.
When buying bath toys, always consider how easy a product will be to clean. Avoid anything that squirts has openings that doesn’t easily disassemble as they can grow mold easily.
Get Ready for Bed
After all of the fun of bath time, getting dried off and dressed for bed can be a real struggle for many families. Make this time more pleasant for your child by setting the tone for fun with music. Play a few of your little one’s favorite songs while getting ready to loosen things up a bit and encourage him to sing and dance out some energy. Invite active participation in the process by having your child select his own pajamas and help comb his hair and brush his teeth. You can even make it into a game where you race to get ready for bed before the song ends.
Dim the Lights for a Story
Now that your child is ready for bed, help him finish winding down by reading together. Offer a selection of sleep-centric, soothing books to further help your child slow down and welcome sleep. “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site,” “How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?” and “Goodnight Moon” are all great options. Adjust the environment to cue sleep by switching off the lights and instead using a small lantern, flashlight or headlamp when reading the bedtime story. By using a small light source, you can make it easier for your child to settle in and prepare for sleep.