Getting your kids to bed on time is an age-old struggle. Relax, be tender, and follow these steps. The trick is following the same pattern night after night.
Remember these four B’s: Bath, Brush, Books, & Bed.
• A Bath Tub
• (Optional) Bed Time Lotion
• (Optional) Milk
• Toothbrush/Wet wash cloth
• (Optional) Mouth Wash
• (Optional) 1 Large diaper
• (Optional) Night Light
• (Optional) Baby Monitor
• Time required 30-60 minutes
Steps to Take (Up to 15 Steps):
1. Give Him/Her a 15 to 30-Minute Warm Bath
A warm bath with a few toys will help your child down and give them a little quiet time. Make sure you supervise them in the bath until it’s safe to leave them alone.
2. Use Bed Time Lotion (Optional)
Some people feel using “bed time” lotion helps a child ease into sleep although it never seemed to work for me.
3. Give a Small Warm Cup of Milk (Optional)
Put a small amount of milk in a cup and microwave it for around 20-30 seconds. Check the milk’s temperature before giving them the cup. The fat in the milk can help your child to settle down. Keep in mind that giving liquids may cause your child to urinate in the night. Note: avoid any form of sugar up to 2 hours before bedtime.
4. Have Them Use The Toilet
This step can be placed anywhere in the middle of these steps. You want to help them stay dry as long as possible throughout the night.
5. Brush Their Teeth
Don’t make tooth brushing stressful or too silly. Little ones may resist you but try to get those pearly whites cleaned without yelling or fighting before going into the bed room. It is a good idea to scrub a baby’s teeth with a wet wash cloth even before they get their first teeth.
6. Use Mouth Wash
Use a mouthwash designed for kids.
Using it every night not only prevents cavities but adds an additional step to the bed time ritual.
7. Have Them Give Kisses Goodnight
Having your child say goodnight to other family members puts bed time in the front of their mind. Remember you are building psychological triggers to help facilitate sleepiness.
8. Have Them Pick Out the Books
Having them do this task gives them a semblance of control. Although we should read to our children 30 minutes a day you may want to do half of this earlier in the night and the other half at this time.
9. Read Story Books for up to 15 Minutes
Avoid activity books that require actions; if they insist, allow it but then place a potty break (or another step) between this and a couple of story books. Make sure these stories are not too silly, it will amp them up. To help them pay attention, pause reading and have them fill in the missing word.
10. Pick Out a Friend to Sleep With
Have a stuffed animal to sleep with can help them settle down. Disallow toys because they can become a distraction. Note: Young babies should not sleep in a bed with soft pillows or stuffed animals due to suffocation dangers.
11. Sing a Routine Song
Songs like Jesus Loves Me or Fairest Lord Jesus can teach spiritual values but also create another psychological trigger for sleep. Always remember to make bed time the tenderest experience of their life.
12. Kiss Them Goodnight
Another trigger and another touch of tenderness.
13. Turn Off the Lights but Crack the Door
This lets them get a little light in the room and also allow them to hear you in the nearby rooms. This also helps you hear if they are getting into trouble instead of sleeping. You can also employ the use of a nightlight and a baby monitor as an alternative.
14. (Optional) Tell a Boring Story With the Lights Off
If my kids don’t sleep I stroke their hair while telling them long and boring stories.
15. (Optional) Repeat steps 9-14
Sometimes kids won’t sleep. Never punish or yell; it is counterproductive. Try a mixture of holding them and storytelling. Quietly lying next to them works as well.
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