1. Consistent bedtimes
Consistency helps with kids' development and behavior. Set their biological clock for when they should be sleepy and when wakeful by putting them to bed and waking them at the same time, 365 days a year.
2. Create a cozy bedroom
Comfy PJs, warm blankets and a tidy room help. Our body temperature drops when we sleep, so use a fan (it also drowns out noise) or an open window to help. Pop back later to check they're warm enough.
3. Set routines
Routines create security and help signal the transition from daytime to bedtime. Run your rituals of bath, PJs, tooth-brushing and story like clockwork.Â In time, just doing these will make kids sleepy.
4. Offer choicesKids like to feel independent, so offer choices with two options; "The pink PJs or the purple ones?", "The teddy bear story or the circus one?" They make a choice, but you're the boss.Â
5. Make it enjoyable
Make elements of the routine as much fun as possible so there's no resistance. Tooth-brushing for instance becomes more exciting using an Oral-B Electric toothbrush in fun designs that feature popular cartoon characters.
6. Limit moving idly
Children can drag out bedtime, asking for water, another cuddle, extra stories. Pre-empt requests; give them a long cuddle to last the night, put a glass of water by the bed and allow them just one request.
7. Talk about the day
Take turns to describe three things that happened during the day - it encourages kids to share their experiences, process the day's events, and relax.
8. Help them self-soothe
When you finish their bedtime story and kiss them goodnight, tell them that if they stay in bed you'll come back in five minutes to check on them. Reassure them that you'll be nearby.
9. Reframe fears
If children are frightened to sleep or wake up scared, make fearful thoughts funny. It teaches kids to control their imagination. Tell them to imagine that spooky ghost slipping on a banana skin.
10. Give a comforter
Being separated from you can be upsetting, so give your child something to hug, a teddy bear or a top that smells of you. Research has shown that it significantly reduces nighttime fears.
What are your genius techniques for getting your little ones to nod off? Do share them with us below.
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