Between mile-long checklists, battles to put your kid to bed, and nightmares, parents lose hours of sleep each night — especially for the first six years of their little one’s life.
We surveyed parents, and 60% of them say their sleep patterns changed once they had a kid. Typically, a child’s sleep schedule dictates the parent’s sleep schedule (especially if the child is a newborn or infant). When the kiddo wakes up in the middle of the night, so does the parent.
Knowing that a parent’s quality of sleep depends on their kid’s quality of sleep, how can parents achieve some decent shut eye? As a parent, how can you get your family on a nighttime schedule that works for you and them?
Here are three tips to help you get started.
1. Establish a Battle-Free Bedtime Routine
Be consistent with the time you put them to bed each night, and wake them up at the same time each morning. The more disciplined you are, the easier your kid will settle into their bedtime routine.
It’s okay to budge every once and a while, but if you let your kid stay up until 10 p.m. each night in the summer, it’ll be a battle to get them in bed by 8 p.m. once it’s time to go back to school.
Thirty minutes before they go to bed, begin to wind them down. Prepare their rooms so it’s more relaxing for them to get into bed. Close blinds and shades or hide toys, so they won’t feel tempted to play with them. If you find that your child falls asleep better to music, make a habit of playing music every time you put them down.
In time, your kiddo will catch on — just stay consistent with it!
2. Make Basic Bedtime Rules
To help your family find a bedtime rhythm that works for all parties, establish some basic bedtime rules. What’s the protocol when your kid has a nightmare? Can they crawl in bed with you? If your kid can’t sleep, are they allowed to watch TV instead?
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you decide what flies under your roof:
- How do you feel about sugar before bed?
- Will you allow your kid to keep electronics in their room overnight?
- Will you allow your kid to play with toys in their bedroom at night?
- Is it okay for your kid to watch TV 30 minutes before bed?
- Can your child sleep with your family’s pet?
- What are your thoughts on nightlights?
- Will you allow your child to sleep with you when they have a nightmare?
- Will you allow your child to sleep with you on special occasions?
Thirty-four percent of parents are likely to let their kid crawl in bed with them, but twenty-three percent of parents would tell them to go back to their own bed, according to a Purple survey. Of course, you can decide the rules of your home, but know where you stand and establish expectations ahead of time, so it’s easier to decide at the moment.
3. Teach Your Kid How to Help Themself Fall Asleep
One of the most useful tools you can provide for you and your child is to teach them how to help themself fall asleep. Plus, if you train your kid to put themselves to bed, they’re better equipped to help themselves fall back asleep when they wake up in the middle of the night too.
Here are some common techniques you can teach your child to help themselves fall asleep faster:
- Count sheep.
- Squeeze and relax their whole body (starting from the toes and working up towards the head).
- Sing a lullaby.
- Read a book.
- Squeeze their favorite stuffed animal or blanket.
Before bed, consider giving them a glass of warm milk. Or bring them their favorite blanket or stuffed animal to help them feel safer and more comfortable in their bedroom. Draw on stuffed animals, mobiles, ceiling stars — anything that will make their room feel cozier, so they’ll want to fall asleep in their room (and not yours).
Every Child Needs Different Amounts of Sleep
Children need different hours of sleep throughout various stages of their life. Infants and toddlers, for example, need anywhere from 11–16 hours of sleep each day — not including naps.
Preschoolers (3–5 year olds) require 10 to 13 hours, plus naps. Grade schoolers need 9–12 hours each night, meanwhile tweens and teens depend on 9–10 hours.
Of course, each kid is different, and while it may be easier to put one toddler down by 7:30 p.m., you may need to pull teeth to get your preschooler in bed by 9 p.m.
As a parent, you’re both a role model and an enforcer of the rules. When you help your kid get their recommended dose of daily sleep, they’ll be more healthy and happier (and so will you!)
It’s National Sleep Awareness Week. To celebrate, we’re giving away a Purple Sleep Suite valued at $5,000, with a Purple mattress, two Purple Pillows, two Plush Pillows, one set of Purple sheets, a duvet, a mattress protector, and the accordion bed frame. Enter at www.purple.com/giveaways.