Posts belonging to Category bed time



Overcoming Bedtime Battles with Your Toddler

bedtime_toddler_battles

Bedtime is a battle of the wills for many parents of toddlers.

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? You read your child a story, kiss her good night and put her to bed after a long day. You’re looking forward to some time to relax or finish evening chores — but instead, you spend the next several hours answering your child’s calls, putting her back to bed and spending time in her room. By the time she falls asleep, the only thing you feel like doing is falling into bed yourself.

Most young children see bedtime as a time to establish their independence. This puts eager-to-please parents who have trouble laying down the law in a difficult situation. In addition to a need for independence, toddlers’ sleep can be disrupted by the increase in cognitive, motor and social skills that comes with their age. Some toddlers also experience nighttime awakenings, nightmares and nighttime fears that make them apprehensive about going to bed.

Despite all these barriers to a good night’s sleep for your toddler, there should be no room for negotiation between parent and child when it comes to bedtime. According to the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers need 12 to 14 hours of sleep each day. Insufficient sleep can have a negative effect on a child’s development, emotions, behavior and immunity, and may even contribute to obesity later in life.

Instead of being held prisoner to their toddler’s bedtime issues, parents should follow these tips for a peaceful bedtime routine:

Maintain a consistent bedtime schedule. Help your child establish a regular sleep pattern by putting him to bed and getting him up at the same time each day and even on weekends. Help your child begin to wind down at least an hour before bedtime by encouraging quieter activities and limiting use of television and the computer.

Create a relaxing bedtime routine. The transition from activity to sleep can be eased with bedtime rituals that help your child relax. Many parents find that a warm bath, quiet conversation about the day and reading a story all send a clear signal that it’s time to go to bed.

Limit your returns. It’s important for your toddler to learn how to fall asleep alone. If your toddler gets up after you say good night, return her to her bed. Let her know that you’ll come back once or twice to check in, but don’t fall victim to being called back several times.

Encourage use of a comfort object. Favorite blankets and stuffed animals are time-honored comfort objects for children. Help your child cope with separation by encouraging attachment to a favorite object that he or she can take to bed.

Bedtime is one of the most important times to remember that you are the parent. Avoid engaging in power struggles, and stand your ground if your toddler pleads and whines. Instead, comfort your child if he has fears or nightmares, assuring him that everyone sleeps at night and that you’ll be nearby in case he needs you.

When toddlers learn to fall asleep on their own, they are better at getting back to sleep when they awaken in the middle of the night. It may not be easy, but helping your toddler master the skill of falling asleep will help ensure that he or she gets a good night’s sleep throughout childhood.

Today’s article is written by Mandy Fricke. Ms. Fricke is the community bedtimemanager for Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Nursing@Georgetown, a Master in Nursing program, as well as acontributor to the Nursing License Map. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and yoga.

Establishing Bed Time Routines

bedAs parents we all know that going to bed can be the toughest time of day for young children because it means separation from us and things they enjoy doing.

Bed time can, and often does, become the toughest time of our day as parents. Trying to get our children to bed on a regular schedule for their sake and for our ours can be a real challenge. They need a routine to insure a good night’s sleep. We need down time…our own time to unwind or get to things we can’t do when our children are up and need our attention.

The Sleep Foundation (http://www.sleepfoundation.org) shares information and sleep tips that may make nightly separation and a good sleep a regular happening and not a sometime thing.

Knowing that preschoolers often have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, parents will have the most success if the stick to a regular bed time and a consistent bed time routine.

The bed time routine needs to be relaxing and have a calming effect. Storytellings, a lullaby, a bit of gentle cuddling are often successful in preparing a child for sleep.

Children need to get comfortable with their sleep environment. They need to sleep in the same sleeping environment every night. The room needs to be cool, quiet and dark, There should be no TV or computer game viewing equipment in the room.

School age children (5-12) need to unwind from the demands and stimulation of school, doing homework, and after school activities that can make it difficult to fall asleep. Research on sleep disturbances for this age group has found that consuming caffeine beverages, such as colas, extensive TV viewing, playing online computer games or surfing the net close to bed time are  major contributors to sleep problems.

Inadequate sleep is a blue print for daytime difficulties such as irritability, poor academic performance in school and social and behavioral problems.

This age group needs to understand the importance of good sleep. Parents and children need to talk about the need for a consistent bed time routine and stick to that routine whenever possible.

Just as with younger children, a winding down time is helpful: listening to soft music, reading a suitable book, working at a quiet hobby are all good choices.

The bedroom needs to be cool, dark and quiet and free of a TV, computer or any electronic game viewing equipment.

Establishing and adhering to bed time routines is not easy. It often takes much effort and patience. But, helping our children develop and maintain good sleep habits is a wonderful life-long gift that only we can give.