How to make Bedtime Less Exhausting for you mommies!
It is estimated that in the first six months after childbirth parents lose about two hours of sleep per night, and that doesn’t change until your child is around six-years-old. From a newborn’s two-hour-at-a-time sleep schedule to your five-year-old potty training and monster-closet problems, a full night’s sleep in a house with children is at a premium. But, bedtime doesn’t have to be as difficult as most of the experience, we just need to know what to expect and be prepared for it.
Here are five tips to help bedtime feel less exhausting.
Bedtime Snacks that Count
You’ve brushed your child’s teeth, got them in bed, read and book and, “Mom, I’m hungry!” Ugh! Bedtime snacks aren’t ideal, but if your child has a grumbling tummy, there is little to do that will stave them off their (han)gry temper. Ideally, you will want to give your child snacks that are high in protein, calcium, and trigger nighttime processes such as melatonin and serotonin production. So, when you are brainstorming bedtime snacks, think peanut butter sandwich, apple slices and cheese, or even low-fat, low-sugar yoghurt with granola.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Sometimes you need to expect the unexpected. Events such as bedwetting, falling out of bed, sleepwalking, tantrums, and nightmares are a common occurrence as your child ages. Being prepared and having a plan for such occasions will help both you and your child get back to sleep without much of a hiccup in the night. Having a diaper or pull-up and wipes on hand, a stuffed animal or a plan to calmly cuddle your child back to sleep are important.
Develop a Consistent Routine
Routine to a child means security and the tighter you stick to your routine the more confident your child will grow. A bedtime routine may include a warm bath, cuddling, reading a book, a lullaby and even a healthy snack before bed.
Ease into Bedtime
Along with a consistent routine is easing your child into bed and making good pre-bedtime decisions. For example, if your child has trouble controlling their bladder at night, then limiting drinks up to two hours before bedtime can help. Turning tablets off and going to books at least thirty minutes before bedtime will help your child avoid the melatonin suppression caused by blue screens on devices. Additionally, warm and sugar-free drinks will help ease your child’s bedtime anxiety. The key is to ease your child toward comfort. Soft and quiet words, gentle hugs, and cuddling are all helpful.
Bedtime exhaustion is part of managing those unexpected occurrences such as bedwetting, but also going through the often-long process of your child sleeping in their own bed the entire night. One way to help your child grow confident in sleeping in their bedroom alone is by providing positive affirmations and reinforcement for their achievements both big and small. Introducing fun awards such as stickers or reading an additional book before bedtime when your child sleeps through the night or has a dry pull-up are great ways to reinforce a good job. Though keep in mind that positive reinforcement does not mean negative responses when your child does not hit a milestone. Focus on the positive and your child will gain confidence faster.
Sleep for parent and child is what keeps you focused, motivated, and prepared for the next day. Sleep helps to maintain energy throughout the day, allows your mind to regulate the body’s systems, repair muscle damage, and organizes your thoughts, emotions, and memories. For a good night’s sleep for you and your child, be consistent, be positive, and be prepared. It all pays off in the morning.
A guest contribution by Lisa Smalls