I have never been blessed with great sleepers. I have counted how many hours of sleep I will get before I go to bed, I have dreaded night fall as I know what is to come and I have played the bed hop as we shuffle between restless sleepers.
The benefit of surviving many sleep deprived days and nights is that we have learnt a thing or two about what should have been doing. We have tried just about everything and through sheer grit and determination come up with three pearls of wisdom, well at least something that is now working for us!
1. Allow Wind Down Time. No TV, Technology or noisy games just before going to bed. This is a quiet time in our house of playing with soft toys, reading and exploring books or simply chatting together. This time starts at 6.30pm in our house.
2. Routine. I had a hard time getting these kids into a bedtime routine but once it was established it has been a god send. At 7pm it’s time for Toilet, Teeth and Stories in Bed. This starts preparing them for whats to come. SLEEP! There is nothing worse than giving children no warning or time to prepare for what is coming next!
3. Set a Bedtime. Children LOVE structure. They love to know what to expect and many struggle when their are no clear boundaries. We have a 7.30pm bedtime. This goes for both children. They have had time to wind down, the routine has begun and by now they are ready to say goodnight. We have tried having two separate bedtimes but it didnt work. Master O is tired after a long day at school and Little Miss A still has a daytime nap so they both show signs of tiredness from 7pm, by 7.30 its lights out, no chatting, sweet dreams.
Of course we are a “normal” family so sometimes routine makes way for visitors, holidays, a late night movie and this routine goes out the window. Its usually then we realise how much we love our routine!
Whilst all of this works for our children it is sometimes the adults who need the most help! I too am trying to “Switch Off” before calling it a night and am in an addictive relationship with my memory foam mattress (seriously it has changed my life!) and dont even get me started about how I always need three pillows! All these years of broken sleep have made me value a good nights sleep more than gold!
So what helps you or your children get a good nights sleep?