Attending preschool provides your child with the opportunity to have a conducive and manageable daily routine. This helps them get the most out of their day, from worktime, playtime and downtime. During preschool holidays, bedtimes often become a bit later. Morning wake-ups also become later and the daily routine can get going a bit slower than during school days. These sudden changes can take physical and mental tolls on your child. Solid bedtime routines should be integral to your child’s life – for their sake and for yours!
An established period of quiet time will allow your child to relax and be in the right state of mind to fall asleep. A routine with this will mean that children will pick up on the cues and realize it’s almost time to sleep. Some good ideas to use during this period include getting your preschooler to brush his or her teeth, reading them a bedtime story and laying out clothes and a schoolbag for the following day.
Allowing 30 minutes or less for a wind down means that your child’s busy mind and body can relax.
It is important to work with your preschooler, not against him or her. Rather than leaving your child with no choices in the bedtime routine, allow him or her to have a say. They of course cannot be calling all the shots but maybe let them choose the book for bedtime reading. Explain the schedule and make sure they understand why a good routine and enough sleep are so important. You can even get the whole family involved in the bedtime routine! This lets your child know that everyone has to get ready for bed and get into good habits.
Some children must sleep with a light on, while others need their room to be completely dark. Make sure that the room is best suited to their preferences. A slightly cooler room (but not cold) usually means a better sleep. But your child should be dressed warmly enough in case they kick the covers off while they’re sleeping. Some kids also need to sleep with a special blanket or teddy bear to feel secure and comforted.
Make It Positive
Avoid threatening your child when it comes to bedtime routines. Going to bed early, for example, should never be a punishment. Bedtime can be a bonding experience between a parent and their child. Spend some time chatting to your child or reading them a story. He or she will form positive associations with sleep time.
Once you have figured out a schedule that works best for your child, it is important to stick to it. This means that your child knows what to expect and knows when it is time to go to sleep. Each night, quiet times should remain the same length and bedtimes should be at the same time. During the school holidays, you also don’t want these times to fluctuate too much.
Winding down before bedtime is important, as is working as a team with your child and perhaps even getting other family members in the home involved. Make bedtime a positive experience, rather than one that your child associates with punishment. Create a comfortable and relaxing sleeping environment. Be consistent with the routine, rather than often changing it.
Bedtime can be a challenge and getting your child on track after summer holidays can make the situation more difficult. But once you have established some set routines, your child will be able to fall asleep easier.