3 EASY WAYS TO GET YOUR TODDLER TO BED!
TRY THESE SIMPLE GUIDELINES TO MAKE BEDTIME A BREEZE
Do you have a little pre-schooler who finds bedtime as appealing as eating cold porridge? It can feel like you are fighting a battle that you’ll never win, but Fran Chavasse, author of The Tresillian Sleep Book and a senior nurse educator has some golden tips to take out the stress – for everyone!
1. NO TV FOR TWO HOURS BEFORE BED “It’s not the TV that’s distracting, it’s the blue light that TVS, tablets and any sort of electric device give off,” says Fran. “They’re stimulating bright lights that will disrupt your child’s sleep. As hard as it is, it’s a good idea to keep them away from devices, games consoles and any screen for at least one to two hours before bed, if you can. The other golden rule is don’t have a TV in your child’s bedroom. These rules can be hard to enforce but unless you do, your child’s senses can be stimulated and they’ll naturally feel more awake.”
2. NO CAFFEINATED FOOD OR DRINKS AFTER 12PM “When we think of caffeine, we think of coffee, but you can find it in a lot of foods or drinks that you might not suspect!” says Fran. “Caffeine is a stimulant, so it’s very hard for a child to sleep after consuming it. Check labels, but it’s found in chocolate, puddings, cakes, energy drinks and fizzy drinks. See if you can limit any high-energy foods, so if you do give these to your child, it’s before lunch.”
3. HAVE A CLEAR BEDTIME AND STICK TO IT “This is easier said than done in a busy household, but preschoolers are no different to us,” claims Fran. “Adults often go to bed at the same time most nights. We have a routine like taking off our makeup, cleaning our teeth, reading a book, and although we don’t realise it, we follow a certain pattern. We never just get up and get into bed. We might have a warm drink of milk, turn the lights off, check all the windows and doors. Toddlers and pre-schoolers are no different to that. We all need some rituals and wind-down activities. This can be having a bath after dinner, drinking milk from the same cup, reading a story or saying goodnight to all the toys. As long as it’s a quiet activity, it doesn’t matter what it is, but try to keep it to the same ones every night so your child knows what is coming next. If you announce it’s time for bed when they are in the middle of a running-around game, they won’t make an easy transition from day to night. You’ll be surprised how well it works.”