So when I hear fitpro’s telling women that to have more energy to workout and burn fat (yep your body burns more fat when you’re rested) they need to sleep more, I roll my weary eyes and think, yeah, tell that to the 2 year old…..
So that’s why I’ve brought in an expert to help, because while I’ve got my own experience as a parent, I’m lucky that bedtimes themselves weren’t too bad. The waking in the night every night until aged 5 (Bella I’m looking at you) was another matter, and for another blog.
Sleep. Remember that, it was lovely rejuvenating thing we did before our kids came along. They say we only really learn to appreciate something when it is taken away from us, that’s definitely true when it comes to sleep and parenting.
A bad night’s sleep can impact just about every facet of your life, including your diet.
One way to help yourself to get better sleep is to improve how your nippers sleep themselves. If you can get them into a healthy and regular sleep routine then it will enable you to get into a healthier routine yourself. It’s good for them and it’s great for you.
Getting your mini-mes of to sleep promptly is easy said than done. The bedtime battle between parent and child is one of the longest wars in recorded history. You’d think it would be one conflict us adults should have won by now, after all we’re so much bigger, and in theory smarter, than our children! Alas no.
I think the reason getting our kids to bed at night is often such a battle is because we’ve been going about it in the wrong way. We’ve been too rule based. Bedtime is bedtime. Why? Because. Instead of the using the classic “because I said so” school of parenting we need to get a little creative.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the boffins and app developers in Silicon Valley it’s that gamification has an incredible power over the human mind. Almost everything we do has been turned into a way to win points, from dieting and exercise to education. And it works. I jog far more frequently now because I want to hit my points target for the week.
You can apply this same logic to your kid’s bedtime. Come up with a set of pre-bed activities and times. If they clean their teeth before 7.30pm, they get 10 points, they then lose a point for every minute they are late. If they are in bed by 8pm another 10 points. And so on and so forth.
Have a leaderboard on the wall where you add up their points and a target for the week, month, etc. If they hit their target they win a prize. Say a trip to the zoo.
Sneaky parent tip, make the prize something you were planning to do with them anyway. Ha ha ha, the little fools will never know!
This one is a classic used by own dear parents on me to amazing effect. I then used it on my own kids. It works believe me.
Let’s be honest, kids aren’t the smartest. Use their underdeveloped brains to your advantage. If the placebo effect is going to work on anyone, it’s the under tens. When bedtime is approaching make or bake a simple snack. Call this something along the lines of “the magical sleep snack” or even something a bit wackier like the “dreamy sleepy nighty snoozy snooze cake”.
Tell them it’s got special properties to help them fall asleep, you’ll be surprised at how effective this can be. Now obviously, don’t go and fill this snack full of sugar otherwise you’ll just be creating havoc for yourself.
If you’re smart and you should be, why not actually make your magical snack out of sleep promoting ingredients. Bananas, almonds, kiwis, walnuts and oatmeal are all scientifically proven to increase the quantity and quality of sleep. As is milk, so whatever you do don’t forget to get your kid to wash their magical snack down with a nice heated glass of the white stuff.
What’s the most annoying thing about putting your nippers to bed? The fact that once you’ve got them down you then have to roam around the house picking up their toys and tidying up after them.
Well, this tip will put an end to that chore, help get your kids into a mental state for sleep and help to improve their language ability.
At the end of a long day playing explain to your little one that they have to put their toys to bed. Make this part of their evening routine. Go around the house with them collecting toys and putting them back in their rightful place.
Make sure to say “nighty night” to each and every toy by name. “Nighty night Mrs Teddy. Nighty night Captain Puffin. Nighty night Bernie Bumblebee”. You get the idea.
This type of gentle play will help transition them from the crazy running about the place style of play to a place where they will be ready to climb into bed and get their snooze on.