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Focus on the Family Series 2

Don't let bedtime wear you out. Focus on the Family, Series 2 offers helpful bedtime suggestions for you and your children. Help make bedtime pleasant.. avoid the battle.

In the last issue, solutions to unwanted advice were addressed.

This issue will focus on bedtime.

The reality of this issue is: If the children go to bed, so can the parents. When the children sleep, so will the parents.

The question: How to get the kids to sleep?


If your baby isn't sleeping well at night, keep your baby in the most active area of the house during the day. They will nap but not as soundly. When bedtime arrives, they will be more tired and more likely to sleep longer periods of time.

Sing a song. Pick one song and sing it every time you put your baby down for sleep. By saving this song for this particular occasion, the baby will soon realize it is time to sleep.

Warm up a snuggle blanket in the dryer. The baby may feel they are closer to you because of the warmth.

Put a clock that actually ticks in their room. The rhythm and soft tone seems to relax the baby.

Instead of rocking the baby soundly to sleep, rock until the baby is ALMOST asleep. The baby is learning how to go to sleep on their own.


Start reading at bedtime when your child is very young. This bedtime ritual has so many benefits and one of them is a settling factor. The quiet of the room and the calming tone of your voice will help them to slow their bodies down and fall asleep.

Have a schedule and stick to it. When something is not negotiable, it is rarely questioned. Pick a bedtime and put your child to bed at that time with very minimal exceptions.

Buy a wind-up timer. At a specified time, start the timer. Tell the children they must complete their nightly responsibilities and be in bed when the timer rings. Make bedtime a routine by having a list (use pictures) of all things that must be done once the timer is set... wash hands, wash face, brush teeth, pick up toys, read bedtime story, etc. Make sure you list them in order of priority. Ie: If they didn't get their toys picked up on time than they can't have a bedtime story, etc.

If the day has been busier or more stressful than usual, start your timer sooner. It will take a little extra to slow the children down.

When your toddler is putting away their toys, have them say "good-night" to his favorites. Tucking toys into their beds helps bring the reality set in.

Late Preschoolers and Early Elementary

Allow the children to take a water bottle to bed to handle the "I'm thirsty" times. Limit the amount of water put in the bottle to what is appropriate for your child.

An Aquarian in the bedroom is often a good idea. It serves as a nightlight and has a calming affect in children.

Snuggle time is great at bedtime. Lay awake with your child for a designated time. Speak softly and talk about anything and everything. Keep it up over the years as long as your child will allow. You will be amazed at the things they are willing to tell you in the quiet, evening hours.

Start a journal. When all of the nighttime rituals are complete, take a few moments and help your child document their day. If they are too young to write, let them dictate to you.

If the fear of nightmares becomes an issueFeature Articles, tell them a story and ask them to dream up the ending.

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Chris Lowrey

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