In conjunction with preschool TV channel Disney Junior UK, here are my top seven steps to bedtime success for parents.
1 Check the time. Deciding on a bedtime and sticking to it is a huge help. A top trick is to count 11 or 12 hours back from when they typically wake up and you will find the best time to have them snuggled up in bed ready for a long snooze.
2 Routine, routine, routine. The best way to get your child into excellent sleep habits is to have a warm, loving regular bedtime routine. This should be repeated nightly until it is almost automatic. Doing the same things in the same order each night sends off signals to your child’s mind and body that sleep is on its way.
3 Give yourself time. As far as you can do, set aside other chores or distractions and put your full focus on making the bedtime routine with your child as enjoyable as possible. Children sometimes resist bedtime to get a bit longer with you so if it’s something you do and enjoy together, they are more likely to follow the routine.
4 Fill their bedtime routine with calming, cuddly things to do. Top tips to making your child’s bedtime as positive as possible could include having a splash in the bath and then wrapping them up in a fluffy towel for a huggable way to get dry, or have a quiet game.
5 When it comes to the walk to bed, try and make it positive and fun, play pretend by walking slowly up the stairs like sleepy teddy bears to slow them down.
6 The final steps could include story time once they are curled up in bed. A top tip is to decide on a book together that takes no more than ten minutes to read, make sure the book isn’t too exciting as your pace and tone of voice are all about soothing towards sleep.
7 Keep it quiet. Once your child is in bed, try to not make too much sound around the rest of the house. The idea of missing out on fun or an activity can easily draw children up and out of bed which could disrupt your own time to relax and their journey into the land of nod.