Along with the New Year comes a new school term and for parents, there’s often a struggle to reintroduce a stricter bedtime routine. For those of you who are coming up against routine resistance, we’ve pulled together a few hints and tips to get kids into those cabin beds a little more smoothly…
Set a time and stick to it
For children, New Year often seems like a good time to renegotiate the agreed bedtime terms and if you’re happy to do so, all should be well as long as you remain resolute and stick to your agreement. More often than not, parents choose to let age dictate bedtimes, so it may be that you agree to review the routine when their next birthday comes around or when the new school year starts.
Stage a switch off
Since children may have become used to a more flexible approach to bedtime over the Christmas break it can take a while for them to settle back into a routine. One common problem is that kids of all ages will likely have been watching TV or playing on tablets or games consoles later than usual, something they’re unlikely to want to give up. Recent research published in the American journal Paediatrics shows that even the presence of smartphones in children’s rooms can reduce the amount and quality of sleep children enjoy, so you may want to urge them to switch off earlier and restrict use to downstairs only.
Reward good behaviour
Bribery is a dirty word when it comes to parenting and we certainly wouldn’t recommend a sweets-for-sleep swap. That said, at this time of year the main struggle is easing the whole family back into some sort of routine and children do respond well to incentivising. You may want to consider keeping a chart to track how often your children go to bed on time along with making their bed , of course. Sticking to the timetable could lead to a reward for their room such as a new cuddly toy for bed, a onesie for bedtime or even a new bed itself. We find kids are always a little more keen to climb the stairs into one of our castle-themed cabin beds!
How do you tackle bedtime arguments? Do you stick to bedtime routines or is there room for negotiation?