Do you have a parenting hurdle you’re working through? If so, “The Parenting Post” is for you! One of our writers, Albiona, has been answering all of YOUR parenting questions over on IG, and we’ve turned her series into blog posts on our website as well. We just can’t get enough of her helpful advice, and we thought you’d appreciate it, too!
Her videos cover a wide variety of parenting questions–honestly, anything and everything! If it’s something you’re wondering, there’s a really good chance that another parent in our community is struggling with it, too. And Albiona is here to help!
This week, she’s focusing on creating an optimal sleep environment for your child. Read on to discover what you can do in your home to promote sleep, and the language to consider using at bedtime!
What tips do you have for creating a sleeping environment that is conducive to better sleep for kids?
There are some things that you can do that do not require ANYTHING of your kids (yay!). They’re things that you can change and do in your own environment that are going to help you achieve better sleep for them–AND for you.
The first thing is to try changing when your child takes their bath or shower.
More often than not, this happens right before bedtime. If your children aren’t bothered by it and they do sleep well, then this doesn’t need to be changed.
If your child is struggling to fall asleep, try giving them their bath or shower earlier in the night. Our body temperature increases when we take a bath or shower. And for some of us, when that happens, our body tells the brain that it’s time to wake up and be active! It doesn’t actually calm and soothe the way that we think it does. It triggers your child’s mind to stay alert, wake up, and have energy. So, moving bath or shower time up is a great way to shift something very small that’s easy and doable!
Change the temperature in your house at bedtime.
We always knock the temperature of our house down at night when it’s time to sleep. So whatever the temperature is in your house, come down a few degrees and make it a little cooler. It’s a better sleep environment when it’s colder, because the warmer your body is, the less quality sleep you get.
Keep in mind though that kids run warm! It’s why they can be barefoot all winter long in the house. They have a higher internal temperature than adults do. When we knock the temperature down a few degrees at night, we help our kids to get more, better quality sleep. And, they might continue to sleep longer through the night and will be experiencing more restful, deeper sleep (which we want!).
Remember to follow through on what you say.
A lot of times parents might say, “You have to go to sleep right now, or you won’t get ______.” The problem here is that you cannot follow through on that, because you cannot make your child sleep. If you can’t follow through on what you’re saying, don’t say it–it just becomes an empty threat.
What should you do instead? Think of what you’re trying to achieve: getting them to lay in their bed, fall asleep, and stay asleep. Just start there. You might say, “Hey, let’s get our pajamas on!” because you can help them get their pajamas on. Or you might say, “Let’s pick a book to read and get in bed,” and then you do just that–help them get into bed, get all snuggly, and settle in to read together.
You can’t make your child sleep. But you can set them up for success within their sleep environment. So use those examples mentioned above rather than telling them to simply go to sleep.
Try using a bonus book.
This is an idea from Joe Newman, the author of Raising Lions. Basically, if your child likes to be read to at night, you can read one book together that the child picks. Then, they can have a bonus book. The only way they get to read the bonus book, though, is if they lay down in their bed with their eyes closed.
Sometimes kids will say they don’t want to close their eyes because they want to see the book, so you have to remind them that it’s the only way the bonus book will work. You might have a little bit of a back-and-forth discussion over it, and/or you might have to leave the room if they do not close their eyes and then tell them they can’t have the bonus book. But you have to stick to it because you want to set them up for success–and laying down, breathing slowly, and closing our eyes are all things that help us to fall asleep.
With the bonus book, you’re setting them up for successful sleep because they aren’t wide awake, asking questions, looking at the pages, etc. while you read. This also gives them the autonomy to decide for themselves if the bonus book is something they want to do–they’ll close their eyes and lay down if they want to make it happen.
So remember, there are a few things you can do to create an optimal sleep environment: move up the bath or shower time, drop the temperature a few degrees, and use a bonus book. All of these will be ways to set your child up for a successful night of sleep!
Do you have more parenting questions for Albiona? Leave them below so she can possibly answer them for you. To learn more, you can follow Albiona on Instagram. Or, subscribe to her weekly newsletter and download her free guide for teaching parents how to get their kids to listen.