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The Sleep Foundation describes the role of a healthy sleeping pattern is a key contributor to the development of young minds. Also, there is a direct relation to healthy sleeping patterns and overall happiness, as sleep has an effect on cognitive performance, mood, resiliency, learning and memory. To learn more about Healthy Sleeping Patterns for Young Children and The Effects of Not Receiving Enough Sleep, click the link here.
18 Tips For Parents- Establishing Healthy Sleeping Patterns For Children At Home
1. Turn off computer screens and lights well in advance. It is suggested that children “power down” well enough in advance so that children have enough winding down time.
2. Establishing a bedtime routine with the help of your child. Let them decide which thing you both should do first (such as taking a bath, reading, and brushing teeth).
3. Allow your child to choose their favorite bedtime bear or stuffed animal.
4. Take a bath, read a story, or sing a song. For more information on bedtime story book lists, read 90 Of The Best Bedtime Stories. To help your child relax, read The Best Bedtime Stories To Relax Your Child Before Bedtime for an age by age guide to bedtime stories for children.
5. Stay positive and keep practicing! It is suggested that parents do not punish their children for getting up during bedtime. Avoid negative associations with bedtime and reward your child when he or she stays in bed and falls asleep.
6. Newborns do not have a set bedtime. Children this age sleep on demand and it is important that parents keep this in mind, as it is part of their development.
7. Start a quiet time, such as listening to quiet music or reading a book, 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime.
8. After the scheduled time, children should follow up with brush teeth. This time can also be used for changing diapers, toileting, and bath time.
9. Allow your child to take security items to bed, where age appropriate. These items sometime includes stuffed animals and security blankets.
10. Never allow an infant to fall asleep with a bottle. This will reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
The CDC recommends the following tips for parents seeking to establish a bedtime routine:
1. Set bed and wake-up times at the same time each day, including weekends.
2. Keep the bedroom quiet and a comfortable temperature.
3. Remove electronic devices from the bedroom.
4. Avoid large meals and caffeine before bedtime.
5. Make sure kids are active during the day so they can fall asleep at night.
6. Model good sleep behaviors for kids.
7. Have a bedtime routine like taking a warm bath, brushing teeth, and reading a bedtime story.
8. Turn the lights out at bedtime.
Check out this visual from the CDC- Do Your Children Get Enough Sleep?
Our morning’s are extremely fast. Extremely. As I was thinking about how to spend more time with my children, it dawned on me that I was already doing that in the morning’s. In the morning’s when they brush their teeth and forget to mouthwash. In the morning’s when they lose one shoe or cannot find their homework. That’s the time. But I had to figure out how to make it quality. So I started asking questions. I’d ask questions like, what are you looking forward to most today? My oldest tends to give me an answer about hanging with her friends at recess or how she’s excited to discuss a recent TikTok with her classroom best friend. My youngest almost always looks forward to seeing her teacher. On the drive to school, we talk. Some days, they talk and I just turn the radio down and listen. They hop out and that’s it. It seems so little but that’s the quality time needed for them to start their days, everyday.
Nights are a little different. This is because we’ve all had the chance to go into the world and come back home with the results of that day. Nights are not as rushed. They are calm. Nights are our moments to decompress and reflect. Again, they talk and I listen. They talk about their friends and who got into trouble. They talk about who burped in class and who tripped them at daycare. They talk and I listen. Sometimes I’ll ask a question and I almost always get a response. I accept both the good and bad responses. Some of the not so good responses are followed by a question by one of my children. They want to know ‘why.’ They eat dinner and talk and I listen. They get ready for bed and talk and I listen. Bedtime stories and bedtime videos on YouTube happen, sometimes by request. We all sit in bed and read or listen to a video and it’s calm. They search for sleep music on their TVs (yes, they have to sleep to sleep music every night). We hug before bed and off they go to dreamland to begin again the next morning. And that’s it. That’s the quality time.
Take Videos and Pictures Everyday
I am the mom with the camera aimed and ready 365 and 24/7. I have been taking pictures of my little ones for a decade and I don’t see that changing one bit. Take pictures. Take videos. Strangers will look at you strange. Do it anyways. You will look back at every picture and think of the good times. Both of my daughters absolutely love the camera! They have been in front of it since birth and it has become our version of quality time. We pose in strange locations and take pictures. We make silly faces. We make funny videos. We crack up at each other and that’s our quality time.
Movie Nights and Days
Lazy days. We all need them. We have our days when we just lay around and watch movies. They love it and I love it. The days turn into nights and we spend lots of time together on those days. I learn all about their new interests and ideas. I witness all of their new artwork. We watch movies and paint nails. They wash their dolls hair and they borrow my brush and comb to do the hair. We take naps. That’s the quality time needed. They are able to just be and still be accepted for the little children they are.
We Go To Church
We go to church. We sing and laugh and listen. Sometimes they sit with me and sometimes they visit the kids church. When they sit with me, they just listen. They absorb. They sometimes ask questions and listen more. We take pictures afterwards. We eat lunch and they laugh. My oldest makes jokes and the little one laughs hysterically. Most church days, they are full of energy!
Shopping and Ice Cream
Weekends! We get up and GO! We go shopping or browsing. We ride around and go into different stores. We walk around and they bring me random items they want or are curious about. We talk and laugh. My oldest pushes the basket and runs into shelves and people (sometimes). My youngest almost always gets in the basket (although, we all know she’s a little tall for the front part). They sneak stuff into the basket. My youngest hides under clothing racks and giggles. My oldest picks stuff up and plays dress up in the middle of the store. They both do cartwheels in the frozen food aisles. Sometimes, I just push the basket cluelessly because I know they are okay and they are just being children. We check out and they always fight over who will pull my card from the machine. My youngest loves putting groceries away and she’s quite good at it. I just let them be and that’s our quality time.
We have game nights. I always lose. But both of my girls are very good! I’m not sure if I lose because I’m helping them each turn but somehow they manage to beat me, and that’s okay. We play Candyland. We play MyLife. We have karaoke competitions-for hours. They make jokes and laugh. When one of them starts the pout over losing, I pep talk them and they are okay again. They argue over turns. Sometimes tears. But then, we always end the night peacefully, somehow.
Yes, that’s right. We have blackouts. No TV’s, no laptops or tablets. Even if it’s only for a few hours. Most times, this happens when tensions are high and I can tell we all need to decompress. Their first response is, ‘ahhhh nooo.’ After about 30 minutes, they are settled into the quiet. I might find one doing a crossword and the other washing her dolls hair. During this time, they are calm and present. My oldest tells me all kinds of facts, stories and ideas on her mind. My youngest likes to cuddle and tends to nap off and on.
I Cook, They Eat.
I’m not the best cook but they eat happily. They put their requests in early in the morning and I attempt to make it. It’s not always a winner but it’s a chicken dinner! Ha. They almost always compliment dinner. We talk and laugh. They waste food on the floor and on their clothes and on the table. They clean and keep talking my ear off. We laugh when someone burps or when it comes out the other end haha. Quality time.
1 On 1 Time During Dance Classes
Both of my girls have separate dance classes on separate days. This means one on one time! We go get our nails painted. We ride around. We jam out to music. Most importantly, we talk.
Going to Nana’s
Off to Nana’s we go! Nana always has the good snacks so they (and me) are always happy. They run around aimlessly. They play with bubbles. We play with water guns. We talk and laugh. They play outside and run away from bugs. My youngest cries. My oldest runs faster. We play with the baby cousin, neighbors and with dogs and house birds. We record videos. We eat. They talk and laugh.
Laundry and Clean Up Days
We have clean up days where we have to get everything back in order. They groan. I play music..loud, when needed. Sometimes, they jump right in. We compete to see who finishes first. My oldest always wins. They dance and clean. They sing and clean. They sometimes cry and clean. They complain and pout and clean. When it’s all clean, we relax. Everyone is back at peace when it is clean and all is well again. My oldest apologizes for pouting most times. My youngest could care less. Ha!
On park days, they bring their bikes while I exercise. They play on the playground and sometimes asks to be recorded as they do flips. I record. They race on the track with their bikes and zoom past me. I challenge them to go faster by passing them on the track and they always pass me. I help my youngest on the monkey bars. My oldest pretends to climb across the monkey bars. They introduce me to their new buddies that they meet on the playground. We have picnics. We play with bubbles. We leave before dark, tired and wore out but happy. This is our quality time.
In a Nutshell
Hopefully you’re able to leave with new ideas to spend quality time with your little ones. Or maybe you could just relate to this post. Did I leave any out?