5 Tips to Get Your Kids to Bed So You Both Can Get the Rest You Need!
Our kids are not getting enough sleep these days. Nor are we for that matter. We busy mamas put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be productive. We over schedule our children so that they can gain a competitive edge. And going to bed gets lower and lower on the totem pole of priorities.
Let’s be real, the last genuine good night sleep we probably had was before we got pregnant. First, the first-trimester nausea was affecting our sleep. Then being too big to sleep on our stomach and find a comfortable position (even with the myriad of prego pillows on the market) kept us up. We were begging for the baby to come out. We didn't fully comprehend that sleep deprivation was about to plummet to yet another level yet. The prego lack of sleep was disguised training for the real newborn deal.
During those first few months, they say all babies do is eat, sleep, and poop. But, between the feedings, burpings, and changing diapers, that sleep clock starts way before you know it, so when you finally are able to fall asleep after all that, you are soon woken up again to start this vicious cycle. Once you get past that phase, then comes the teething, the bed wetting, the nightmares. And, of course, various illnesses sprinkled in for good measure. I must admit, there is some reprieve when kids are old enough to get themselves ready for bed. Until they are old enough to drive … and that’s when sleep goes out the door again as you worry that they get home safe and sound.
Just like we need to put the right foods into our body for optimal performance, we also need to give the body the rest it needs in order to recharge. No amount of healthy food is going to compensate for sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation usually equates to weight gain, as sleep deprived people tend to overeat when tired. Lack of sleep affects focus and memory. Also, when you are exhausted you are prone to bad decision-making.
Here are Five Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet Tips to making sure your kids (and you) get a good night sleep:
1. Keep kids to a consistent waking and sleeping schedule
· While I tend to let kids sleep later and wake up later on weekends, I put a limit on that so that it doesn’t interfere too much with their weekly sleep routine.
2. The environment in their rooms can affect sleep
· I had my kids choose their bedding and pillows to make sure they found it comfortable. I also wanted them excited to get under those blankets at night. For the little ones, having them choose which stuffed toy they want to sleep with that night was a great way to kick-off the bedtime ritual process.
· I also had night shades installed so that the room stays dark even when the sun rises.
· The temperature in the house is another factor that can affect sleep. The optimal sleeping temperature is between 68-70 degrees.
3. Full stomach makes restless sleep
· Eating a large meal right before bed can make it difficult to sleep, so try to avoid that when possible.
· I try to give kids last bite to eat between 2-4 hours before bed
· This way they are also more likely to wake up hungry and eat breakfast in the morning. It is so important to jump start your metabolism and start your day right.
· Chamomile flower tea is known for its soothing and relaxing effect so try giving your kids a warm cup of tea to start the bedtime ritual process. Keep in mind for kids who may wet the bed to have them go to the restroom afterward and again before bed.
4. Remove your kids’ electronic devices from their room at bedtime
This is crucial to getting a good night’s sleep for two reasons:
· First, this will help avoid the sneaking around to play at night or as kids get older waking up from texts or calls from friends.
· Second, the bright light from the various screens (iPad, computer, phone, etc.) actually affects melatonin production. This can negatively affect our ability to fall asleep.
5. Bribe your kids with extended alone-time /quality time with you when you tuck them in if they go to bed on time.
· Bedtime Story: When my kids were younger, I’d read a bedtime story with each one of my kids individually. That way, they would get to spend exclusive alone time with me before their bedtime. After reading them a bedtime story, I’d ask them to list three things they were grateful for so that they fall asleep feeling happier and more fulfilled.
· Pillow Talk: Now that they are a bit older, I still tuck them into bed and have alone time with them to meditate, say their positive affirmations, and have what we call “pillow talk”. Pillow talk is when I really hear about what happened during their day!
The number of hours our kids should be getting according to the National Sleep Foundation. How many hours of sleep per night are your kids (and you!) getting?
AGE / HOURS OF SLEEP
Newborns: 14-17 hours
Infants: 12-15 hours
Toddlers: 11-14 hours
Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
School-Age: 9-11 hours
Teenagers: 8-10 hours
Young Adults: 7-9 hours
Adults: 7-9 hours
Older Adults: 7-8 hours
In a nutshell, we need to ingrain in our kids (and remind ourselves!) from a young age that sleep is a good thing and prioritize it like everything else that is important to us.
This blog is inspired by “Busy Mom’s Cheat Sheet: Raising Happy Healthy Kids” Lesson #6: Ingrain in your kids from a young age that sleep is a good thing.
Lilly Cadoch is an award-winning author, certified health coach, and dynamic speaker devoted to helping busy mom’s and all caregivers raise happy healthy kids by teaching their children the tools to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. For more tips, inspiration, and recipes delivered to your inbox, sign up for her free newsletter at www.busymomscheatsheet.com and follow Busy Moms Cheat Sheet on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.