There are endless reasons why getting your little one to bed earlier is a game changer. Beside the fact that you might actually get a second to yourself or some alone time with your significant other before you hit the hay, you are ensuring better sleep for your child.
Early bedtimes usually coincide with your little one’s circadian rhythm, so this will allow you to work with their biological sleep cycles instead of working against it. Sometimes 15 minutes can be the difference between a blissful bedtime and a crib side meltdown. If we miss their nighttime “sweet spot,” where your child is naturally getting sleepy, their body will start to get its second wind. Biologically, getting a “second wind” means your body releases the naturally occurring hormone cortisol at an unnatural time, which results in fighting sleep, night wakings, and early wake ups.
Switch up your schedule
If you find that getting home from work, getting the kids fed, bathed, and ready for bed is a stressful and chaotic time then we want to start to simplify our nights. Meal prepping or even feeding the kids in the car on the way home can reduce nighttime madness and leave more room for spending quality time together when you get home and more time to get ready for bed. Giving baths every other night or even in the morning can allow for more time in the evening to read books and get to bed earlier. This is the most unfavorable option but only waiting up for Mom or Dad to get home from work on special occasions can be helpful as well. There will be plenty of time either in the morning or on weekends to spend quality time with your well-rested children if you feel like you are missing out on the weeknights.
Start your soothing routine earlier
If you don’t already have a soothing routine, this is a great time to start one because children respond well to consistency and cues. Calming routines help the body start to relax and prepare itself for sleep. Reading the same books and singing the same songs are great cues to let your little one know that sleep comes next. Starting your routine 15 minutes earlier than normal can allow the same cues and prep work to occur and get your baby off to dreamland with no muss or fuss.
Set the mood
When you want the night to start winding down, it is important to make your environment conducive to sleep. Start by shutting down electronics, making the lights dim, and doing activities that are calming. In the summer months, the sun will stay up much later than we want our little ones to. Black out curtains are key to creating darkness which is essential in the naturally occurring hormone, melatonin. We want our children’s rooms to be “cave” like – dark, cool, and quiet. Here is one we LOVE
Resist the nighttime requests
“But I need just one more book, a glass of water, another song…” The list goes on. Get all of your hugs and sleep cues done in the soothing routine and be clear that bedtime means bedtime. Children are masters in their craft of stalling and using their cuteness to get anything from you that will allow them to stay awake and with you longer. Stick to a consistent schedule at bedtime and don’t give in to their stalling requests. They will quickly learn that it gets boring when their requests aren’t being met so sleep starts to look pretty good. Here is another fun alternative to those sneaky requests from the littles: The Bedtime Pass.
If all else fails, you know where to find us so we can customize a sleep schedule and plan that works for your specific family’s needs and provide you with support through this challenging process.