Childcare centers provide plenty of ways for your little one to learn during the day. But if she isn't well rested, that daycare day can go downhill quickly. How can your children learn, develop and build new skills if she hasn't gotten enough rest? Toddlers need between 11 and 14 hours of a sleep per night and preschoolers need 10 to 13. You try to make sure your child gets enough sleep, but bedtime always seems like it's a battle. If your kiddo is finally falling asleep at 10 p.m. and you're waking her up at 6 a.m. to get ready for 'school', she isn't getting nearly enough rest. What can you do to make sure that your child is getting a good night's sleep? Buff up the bedtime routine with these tips.
Yes, your child uses electronics. You know the screen-time rules – children ages 2 through 5 should use screens for no more than one hour per day, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It's not just the amount of time your child is using electronics, it's also when she's using them. The light from a screen promotes wakefulness. Obviously, this doesn't work in your child's favor when she's trying to drift off to dreamland.
When you're choosing 'screen time', make sure it isn't too close to bedtime. Cut the power at least an hour before going to sleep and don't allow your child to take a tablet into bed with her. Playing her favorite game (whether it's educational or not) or watching her favorite show on a tablet in bed won't help her to fall asleep. This type of screen use is more likely to have the opposite effect, keeping your kiddo awake.
Consistency is key when helping your child to fall asleep early. Young children thrive on routines, and need to know what to expect. Set a reasonable bedtime that allows your child to get plenty of rest. Factor in the possibility that she might not fall asleep immediately. Even if you take away the screens and get her ready for bed, it could still take her some time before she's actually out.
After setting the bedtime, stick to it. If she has a 7:30 p.m. bedtime, keep that time seven days a week. Avoid letting her stay up late on the weekends just because the childcare center is closed. Separating daycare days and weekends will get your child off of her schedule and may make those Monday bedtimes tough to enforce.
Create a Routine
Along with setting a consistent bedtime, creating a bedtime routine can also help your child fall asleep. This might include quiet playtime, a bath, a book, a song and then a kiss goodnight. The specifics of your child's routine are up to you. Keep the routine the same every night (again, also on the weekends) and don't let it linger. When you say, "goodnight" mean it. Don't go back for two more stories, three songs and a sippy cup of water. Say your goodnights, turn out the night and leave the room.
Your child needs plenty of rest to make her day go smoothly. Childcare centers typically have packed schedules that are filled with play and learning experiences. A well-rested child will enjoy her day, without those cranky "I'm so tired" meltdowns. For more information, contact establisments like Dreamland Education Ctr.