Dear Minorcan Mama,
I am having a hard time getting my preschooler to sleep at night—what should I do?
Sleepless in St. Johns
I hear ya! After many sleepless nights and coffee-fueled mornings we were finally able to get our daughter to go to sleep and sleep through the night. The sleep routine actually starts an hour or so before bedtime. After dinner, homework, television and the hustle and bustle of the early evening is over, begin to create a CALM and QUIET environment in your home by dimming the lights and switching the television off if not in use.
This is a good time to take away any electronic tablets that your child may play with, as the light from the screen is said to interfere with the ability to fall asleep. Implement this calm and quiet time and use it every night, then with CONSISTENCY, follow the rest of the bedtime routine. Choose a routine that is most comfortable for your child and family, but whatever you do, stick to it! After some quiet play time at our house, I like to give baths, in a calm, unhurried manner, and then allow them 20-30 minutes more quiet play or reading time. I, myself, like to take this time to catch up on my latest copy of Better Homes and Garden or whatever new Chick Lit. Novel is out. I love it when, I am sitting on the couch, and I peer over my book to see my kids imitating me and reading their own books.
If you want to create a behavior in your child, model it. After this 20-30 minutes, we brush teeth and then lay down in bed. At this point, keep it calm and quiet and COMFORTABLE. There are things that you can do to make your child more comfortable in their room and in their bed---let them choose glow stars for the ceiling (those are big in our house), a night light, even their bedding. Giving them a say-so in these things will make them excited about bedtime. Let them choose a comforting object—a stuffed animal, doll, or soft toy that they would like to cuddle with throughout the night. During this time we play soothing music or read books aloud. When you are reading to your child, don’t forget to snuggle up close, this can help your child to relax, feel comfortable and, FALL ASLEEP! I like playing music softly and then after storytime, sitting in the darkened room, with my children until they fall asleep. The music and my presence seems to lull them to sleep.
Hang in there! Create a calm and quiet environment, be consistent , and provide a comfortable atmosphere to fall asleep in and they will be snoring before you know it and you will be free to check your Facebook, peruse Pinterest and catch up on Netflix!
Love and Snoozes,
Minorcan Mama is a 30-something, St. Augustine Native Minorcan, trying her hardest to raise her modern kids with an appreciation of their roots, their history and a love of the great out-of-doors. Send her your questions about family, parenting, relationships and whatever else you can think of to firstname.lastname@example.org She loves being “social,” at www.facebook.com/minorcanmama and www.twitter.com/minorcanmama Also, stay tuned for her new Website and Blog coming this month!