One of toughest parts of parenting is regulating your child’s sleep pattern (and your own). With newborns, there’s not much you can do to avoid disrupted nights and early mornings, but as your child gets older, there are a few things you can do to make his or her bedtime easier.
- Make dinner early. Keep food and drink consumption to a minimum before bed if possible. The earlier your child can eat, the earlier his or her food will digest. Caffeine should be avoided up to 6 hours before bedtime and it’s best to stay away from sweets right before your child heads to bed as well.
- Minimize stimulation. While children are usually full of energy, it’s a good idea to start winding things down a few hours before their bedtime. There is a time and place for playing ball or loud games, but before bed is not it. Electronic devices should also be put away as your child begins to get ready for bed.
- Communicate often. Although most children are aware of their bedtime, it’s smart to give a friendly reminder frequently to put him or in the right mindset. Letting your child know bedtime is an hour away, thirty minutes away, ten minutes away, etc. will allow him or her to finish any projects or tasks beforehand.
- Create a routine. Children need structure and this is especially important during bedtime. This routine should be enjoyable so your child does not dread going to bed each night. For a bedtime routine, 20-30 minutes is typical and may include bath time, story time, cuddling, etc. Reading to your child before bed is a great way to set the mood while teaching your child the importance of reading.
If you have concerns about your child’s sleep schedule or bedtime manner, consider talking with a medical professional at Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care. At Medical City Children’s Hospital Urgent Care, we provide quick, efficient service so you can avoid the typical hassle of a doctor’s visit. Be sure to use the online check-in to minimize your wait in the lobby.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you or your child.