Ah, precious sleep. We never seem to get enough of it no matter how much we crave it. As parents, we find ourselves daydreaming about cozying up in bed as our kids soar across the playground. This is a chronic condition for countless parents; you feel groggy, out of focus, creatively defunct and unable to keep up with your kids. What can we do about this?
We can start by helping our kids sync up to a healthy sleep cycle. As parents, we know just how vital a solid sleep schedule is to their development. On the flip side, fostering an active lifestyle is also essential! Fortunately, sleep and exercise are a match made in dreamland for both you and your kids. When you go to the gym, for example, you're pretty beat afterward, so you get the idea!
Here are some eight sheep-approved ideas for sleepytime success for the kids:
- Avoid Caffeine: This one might sound obvious, but it can't be stressed enough. Shy away from the caffeine after early afternoon. Personally, I enjoy a cup of hearty coffee first thing, then switch to tea up until 3pm. As for kids, be aware of sneaky caffeine sources. No more soda, chocolate, or energy water too late in the day. There are much more healthy alternatives!
- Have a Family Routine: Kids never want to miss anything, so if you're staying up and they're told to go to bed, they may be reluctant. To counter this, get the entire family to take part in the routine of going to sleep at an earlier time. Brush your teeth, put your pajamas on, and get some rest. If you prefer to unwind or work after your kids are tucked away, do so quietly as to not peak your kid's interests!
- Stay on Schedule: If you're having any trouble sleeping, work towards a consistent bedtime. Parental brains tend to run wild with planning the next day, stressing over decisions, and worrying about our little ones. A steady bedtime, even on weekends, will train your brain to enter rest mode when it's time to hit the hay.
- Stay Active: If you want to treat your entire being with respect, exercise! It tires out your body and eases your mind so you can enjoy a deep, rejuvenating sleep. It works the same magic for kids too! By playing and moving, kids will be tuckered out come bedtime. Doesn't that sound lovely? Just don't let them be too active right before bed; it takes some time to unwind and cool off!
- Have a Clean Room: Believe it or not, the atmosphere in your child's room can have an impact on their sleep. Have them tidy up before bed and return toys to their homes. Out of sight, out of mind! Upon awakening, the room will be a fresh, inviting canvas for play. As an adult, surely we can all relate, right?
- Power Everything Down: Technology is everywhere, nagging for our attention. The artificial light interferes with our natural circadian rhythms. Establish a strict policy of powering down at least a half an hour before bedtime. That means adults too! We need to lead by example. Shut everything down, unwind with a book, write in your journal, and reflect on the day.
- Promote Tomorrow: If your child is reluctant to go to bed, assure them of the wonder and possibility that tomorrow promises. There's always a bright side that you can promote, even with school! This is another reason why a hearty breakfast is so important!
- Reward System: Some children just refuse to go to bed, so use this one as a last resort. Let the kids know that for each night they go to sleep when they're supposed to, they will receive a star, and for every few stars they receive, they'll receive a prize!
Now, let's make those sheep proud by exploring what works for us and our children to promote solid, restful sleep. What have you done with your children to help them achieve this? What has helped you as an adult? If you have a tip that didn't make this list, please share it with us!
Find more about the author: Kim Hart