Monday, 20 March 2017

Children's Sleep Tips & ROARSOME Bedding

Lie ins. I mean, do you get one? Ever? We use a special alarm clock for the kids which they know not to get up before but with the recent brighter mornings the children seem to be thinking the sun is up before their clock tells them! It is a bit of a shock to the system. Even for Rob and I as the light pours into our room more than most. Mainly because we are in an attic conversion and the velux windows don't have curtains. In fairness it never bothers me except during the crossover period of spring and autumn when it is a body shock of being bright, so you wake up early or really dark so you don't want to get out of bed!
With the kids being ill this week our sleep has been totally disrupted as we have all bed hopped in efforts to give each other a night's sleep and even when the kids' natural body clock gets them up at the same time everyday, so when we have hardly slept and they are awake there is no chance of any kind of lie in unless as spouses we give each other that glorious extra half hour to 7:30!!

That said, the kids do show a few signs of learning to give us respite. They can just sit in bed reading a bit which helps us just wake up in a more luxurious way, but Raph is usually the eager one who just cannot wait to get up. It's funny though as when he was a babe we had real sleep trouble with him not going to bed and at 10 months we were lucky enough to have a helpful health visitor come round and literally teach us some skills that changed how we parent bedtime. I saw an article recently that stated that UK children have the worst sleep habits in Europe and suffer the most because of it. Now this isn't necessarily a source that I would trust but I know so many of us struggle with good sleep routines for children and therefore believed the article as I see so many examples of bad bedtime routine/sleep patterns meaning that our kids are tired. I just wanted to share a few tips on what we find useful with our kids on getting them down to bed at 7pm and sleeping through till 7am.

Our routine starts around 6.15 on a good day. As they have got a bit older that time varies but we always have a good 30-45 minutes of bedtime prep before heads hit the pillow. 

Bedtime prep involves:

NO Naps. I just want to start with this one first only really for older babies to 4/5 year olds. We found the most disruptive thing to sleep was napping too late. We stopped letting the kids sleep past 5 at the latest when we started more routine sleep patterns especially with Raph at 10 months. It makes a big difference and if it means you start the bedtime wind down slightly earlier due to them being tired, do so because they still need that wind down to bedtime rather than just a nap.

Tidying Up. A small task but get the kids to help pack away the day's mess. It is wind down time. It does not need to be stressful or quick but it is starting to make the change from play/TV watching to bed time. Also make sure all console and screens are off. This makes a huge difference to their stimulation. 

NO Screen Time. Like I just said during this whole lead up to bed I can't stress enough how bad it is for kids to be on electric devices. Honestly. These are bad in this last hour before bed as their brain is too active. They cannot even go near them so pop them away in a chosen 'special' place ready for the morning.

Wash Time. Life is busy and sometimes you can't get a bath/shower in every night. If you can, a good 15 min bath is perfect for letting them burn a bit of energy. Playing in the warm water is relaxing them even if they still seem excitable. Let them play off any extra energy! If you don't have time just extend the brushing teeth time with a flannel wash. Nice warm water and a bit of a splash to help keep to that routine of cleaning at the end of the day.

Story Time. For young children I would suggest this is a vital part. I believe you MUST read to your children. I'm not talking novels, I'm talking stories. Take this time to truly connect with your child. Be firm. Sit down with them, no messing about and use this time to really relax. If you have a partner who works and doesn't get to spend as much time with the child as you, this is a perfect time for them to spend a bit of time together.
Also try to routine the amount you read. We have 3 children's books most of the time. Actually as they are getting older it is becoming two, choosing one each to read, but whatever you do, make it the same most nights.
Also, I must point out, our kids share a room which makes this easy, but you can alternate rooms or even do it on your bed so that it still all relates to bedtime.

No Playing. By this time once you are in the bedroom and in bed, try not to encourage any playing with toys. We actually keep most of the kid's toys downstairs which I know is probably opposite to most people but it is a little thing that helps them not get distracted. 

The Sign Off. This is the most important time. In this time you need to sign off from the day and from the child. Cuddles and kisses are all you need. We like to say family prayers and say what we are thankful for together as the last thing we do before tucking them in and turning off the lights. 

What we do works for us. If you have children of different ages, you might have to stagger it more but the reality is you can begin the same wind down at the same time (getting away from screens especially) and just encourage more reading or even spending time with older ones by drying their hair or something for them. Just building in the wind down time will change how a child rests.
I can't see jumping to attention at 6.55pm and bundling the kids into bed in the 5 minutes till seven as working all that well. I can imagine it may be more stressful for the parent and result in a child being quite awake for a while even if they are still in bed. 

Take note on my tips if you want, it has worked for us but please do make the timings work for you, for your lifestyle and how you parent. Keeping a solid bedtime routine will change your child's sleep patterns, I assure you, but don't let life stop you. If you have events you want to go to, adapt it and enjoy it in your life!

Also In this post you will have noticed the beautiful bedding from G R E A T   L I T T L E  T R A D I N G   C O which we have been testing as part of our role on their team. I have reviewed their bedding before ( H E R E ) but this new Dino print is so ROARSOME that I wanted to get Raph a new set.
As always, the crisp cotton and clean prints really comes through especially with the beautiful bold green colour and this set especially is perfect for me as it is majoritively white giving it that bright clean look. GLTC bedding always washes well and as I don't iron bedding I do it because I find the creases drop out almost overnight with these sets so there is just no need. 
Fancy a browse at the other bedding ranges, have a look on their W E B S I T E at all the beautiful styles.


* Post as part of our role as GLTC Testing Team

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