Bedtime with little ones can be a struggle that can impact their sleep, and yours too. Helping your child sleep better sets them and you up for success the next day. But where to start? Today we're featuring five simple ways you can help your kids get better sleep, from spending quality time together before bed, to soaking in sunlight during the day. We've got you covered. Get ready for sweet dreams for your little ones. (And for you, too.)
1. Create A Bedtime Routine
Little ones thrive when they know what to expect. Routines and rituals are a great way to set them up for success with bedtime. Depending on how old they are, you can write down their bedtime routine and hang it somewhere they can see it, like the refrigerator. Make it fun by adding stickers or drawings together. A quick, three-step routine of teeth brushing, story-reading, and good night cuddles are ideal and prepare them for better sleep. The whole family will enjoy building and maintaining a routine together.
2. Cue the Lights and Music
Visual or sound cues, like the “time for bed” signals on the Rest 2nd gen, let kids know it’s time to start getting ready for bed. These signals incorporate specific light and sound combinations that alert your little ones when it’s time to start their bedtime routine. You can program the device to play their favorite content for a specific time. Once it’s complete, their “bedtime favorite” sounds will automatically start and continue to play throughout the night. One of our favorite features? The wake up light. You can program your child's Rest device to change colors when it's time to get out of bed in the morning. It helps them know when it's time to get up (and might grant you those extra 10 minutes of quiet!).
3. Spend Time Together
According to Stanford Children’s Hospital, sometimes little ones may become unsettled at bedtime because they want attention. Evenings are usually when kids get attention from their grown-ups at home, especially for those who leave during the day (or night!) for work. And for parents who work from home or are available during the day, little ones can become dependent on your presence for comfort. Spending some time together before bedtime can help kids wind down faster and sleep better. Whether it’s reading books together, talking about their day, or singing a song, knowing that they get to have time together as part of their bedtime routine is key.
4. Play Outside
Outside time isn’t always possible depending on where you live, but encourage little ones to get as much natural light as possible during the day — especially in the mornings. Breakfast on the deck, anyone? Bright light suppresses melatonin which helps your little ones feel awake and alert during the day and sleepy toward bedtime. The connection between sunlight and sleep is strong.
5. Stay Positive (or Neutral) When Bedtime is Disrupted
Your little ones likely respond well to positive reinforcement. You can use a sticker chart, offer a reward with a special treat, or plan fun, one-on-one time like playing a game or baking. Although it can be challenging when your little ones are waking up often during the night, the key is to not punish them for getting up. It’s important to avoid creating negative associations with their bed. Maintaining a positive attitude, or in the wee hours of the morning, a neutral one will ensure your little ones develop a healthy relationship with bedtime and sleep. You’re doing great.
Whether you try out one or two items on this list you’ll be on your way to helping your kids sleep better. And if you only choose one, might we suggest the Rest 2nd gen? Kids’ routines can take time to adapt to — make sure to give them and yourself grace during the transition. Here’s to more peaceful slumbers for your little ones!