Sleep is one of the most basic human behavioral needs. It is a factor in our health, stress level and overall functioning on a daily basis. Yet, it is a challenge for so many beings. Teaching your small beings good bedtime routines may lead to a lifetime of better sleep for them. Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Start bedtime long before starting the bedtime routine. At least an hour before bed, start preparing the environment and your small beings body for sleep. Start to dim the lights, avoid physical activity that is energizing and turn all technology off. Reducing/removing screen time before bed may be challenging and has tremendous benefits.
2. At the start of your bedtime routine, be proactive about your small beings needs. Offer a last snack or a cup of water for their bedside, have tissues nearby or make sure they have said goodnight to others in the home. You want to address any need they may ask about as a way to delay sleep. Being proactive will help take the negotiations out of bedtime.
3. Add an activity to bedtime that will relax your small beings body. For some families this is a baby massage works, others do some gentle stretching and others will do a short meditation practice. Find the activity that works for you and your small being.
4. Have the last thing of the day (after the books are read and songs all sung) be to talk about the highlights of your day. That quiet time when you talk right before bed is so precious, fill it with positive memories of the past day. This sends your small being into dream world with happy thoughts.
5. Consider the overall physical environment and make adjustments that may lead to better sleep. This may take some creativity. For example, on these long summer nights, make sure you have shades that reduce the sunlight streaming into your small beings room at 8pm. If there are sounds that may be distracting as your small being is falling asleep or scary if he/she hears them in the middle of the night, consider playing classical music or getting a noise machine to mask the sounds.
All of these strategies can help the sleep of big beings also. As big beings, many of us wrestle with falling asleep and getting a full nights rest. Try applying the behaviors to your own life and see what happens. Personally, I do my best to be off the computer and phone an hour before I go to bed. I don't always make it but it is a behavior I am working on increasing. I also think about the 3 highlights of my day as I am lying down to fall asleep and have watched it change the quality of my dreams and sleep for the better. I wake up less throughout the night when I fall asleep to positive thoughts rather than worried thoughts or going over my to do list in my head. Try some of these strategies for yourself and let me know how it goes.
Do you currently use any of these strategies in your small beings bedtime routine? If so, I want to hear how they are working for you. If not, let me know which one you are going to start applying tonight. I always love hearing your feedback so please leave your thoughts in the comment section below this post on my website or email me directly with your behavior insights!