Here’s a familiar scene: It’s past 8:30 and everyone in the house, including Mama, is CRANKY. When you have preschoolers at home, bedtime can really be a nightmare (no pun intended!). Your last task of the day is putting your little angel to sleep. In preschool land we have something called Routines and Rituals. It’s a predictable schedule and sequence of events. For instance, every morning when a child comes into class, he puts away his backpack and chooses an activity table. Children know the routine, they clearly know what is expected, and it happens consistently. (And if you’re not familiar with the reference in the title above, check out this hilarious book!)
Bedtime routine and rituals are also a must. To be successful, you’ve got to perform them at the same time and in the same way each and every night. This is a win-win for parent and child. They know what’s going to happen, and you aren’t creating a frightening new creature feature for yourself each and every night.
10 Steps to Creating Sweet Dreams for Parent & Child
- Regardless of what you plan to do, you must be consistent
- Create a chart of bedtime rituals so your child knows what to expect
- Give your child a 20-minute warning before bedtime (set a timer!)
- Give your child a warm, soothing bath (it’s my sister-in-law’s cure for everything—don’t forget to have one yourself on trying days)
- Brush teeth
- Go to the potty
- Turn off overhead lights, and turn on a special lamp
- Talk quietly
- Read a book
- Say goodnight in your very special way (my favorite: “I love you to the moon and back!”)
- Give your child a very warm and reassuring snuggle hug
Try some of these suggestion or create your own routines and rituals. I promise it really works! Wishing you and yours sweet dreams always.