It has been a long day and now you are ready to relax and gather your thoughts in preparation for another day at work. But, before you do, there’s the end of day tasks of getting kids ready for bed and prepared for school in the morning. Here are some bedtime practices to help get your kids thriving in the morning; at home and at school. Bedtime practices takes the stress out of getting kids in bed and keeping them there.
1. CONSISTENCY. SAME TIME EACH SCHOOL NIGHT
There is no better way to ensure kids have a good night’s sleep than to build a consistent bedtime routine. Adopting a bedtime routine prepares them for a productive day at school. It helps them manage their peer relationships and improve school performance. Academic performance is strained when a child lacks the concentration and the temperance to follow instructions and provide feedback necessary to demonstrate competency. Effective learning takes place when kids are well rested, and ready to go. When you think about raising successful kids, one of the first things you must think about is their ability to be consistent and focused; exercising discipline at all times. Being consistent and focused and disciplined, is foundational to being able to execute tasks in a competitive way.
2. ONE HOUR BEFORE BED TURN OFF ELECTRONICS
The lack of sleep our kids experience because of excessive use of technology and its use just before and after bedtime, can result in “declining sleep quality”, eye fatigue with a general overall foggy feeling. When sleep patterns are interrupted the chances of kids feeling refreshed and ready to go, is diminished substantially. Disconnecting from technology an hour before bedtime is the minimal time to be considered. The longer kids can disconnect before bed, the better. Alternatives such as playing games, putting together a puzzle, reading or writing, are great super-subs for settling kids down in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
The highly stimulating nature of technology coupled with eating and drinking habits with high fructose, high sugar additives is a dangerous cocktail of sorts for kids before bed. Remember, a kids’ growing body craves healthy habits and choosing healthy habits, should be what families excel in.
3. BRUSH THEIR TEETH AND WASH THEIR FACE
Kids brushing their teeth and washing their face is the basics before bed. It puts kids in a bedtime mode. After a long day of school and fun and then hanging out at home, they are dirty and sticky and hot and sweaty. Trying to get kids settled for bed without bathroom duties, places at risk sleep habits necessary for them to be high performers. Generally speaking, a well groomed child is a more confident child. The refreshing nature of grooming and its impact is a potent value-added step for kids.
4. QUIET TIME. NO ARGUMENTS. SAY THEIR PRAYERS.
Here’s where you take a permanent marker and draw a line in the sand. There is no arguing or fussing or throwing shades of confusion before bed time. Quiet time is set aside to settle kids, especially kids who are naturally energetic and high spirited. Not only that, in general, an atmosphere of “calm”, is an anecdote. During this time, kids are to settle any disputes among them; there’s the offer of an apology and the acceptance. After-which, they say their prayers and prepare for a good night’s sleep. Teaching kids to forgive by the end of one day and before the beginning of the next, teaches them virtues that are priceless and the health benefits that forgiveness delivers is invaluable.
5. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS. HEALS CONFLICTS.
Bedtime is the best time to practice forgiveness. All of the building blocks for transitioning an active day into a quiet, non-confrontational time of fellowship brings as its offering, the path of forgiveness. Practicing forgiveness has benefits beyond comprehension. Not only is forgiveness good for the mind and the body, but the soul as well. It reminds all of us of our humanity and the need we have for one another. In times of despair and waywardness, offenses take a position that otherwise would not be available. Kids learn forgiveness and its ability to heal conflict by watching their family and how they respond. Practicing forgiveness at bedtime is fundamental, but the true face of the practice is seen in the everyday lives of their family.
6. CHECK ROOM TEMPERATURE – TOO HOT? TOO COLD?
Keeping kids’ rooms comfortable is also important. Temperature ranges vary depending on family preferences. Not one temperature fits all. However, monitor kids sleep habit. Do they appear rested? If not, before thinking there is something wrong, check their room temperature and ask questions.
7. GIVE LOTS OF HUGS AND LOVE AFFIRMATIONS
Love is a protector. Kids that feel loved, feel protected; their lives feel secure and stable. Hugs and love are kinfolk. They are knit together one needing the other. A simple meaningful embrace can calm a roaring storm. Hugs share the weight of the challenge and releases, almost instantly, burdens carried throughout the day.
Affirming or encouraging words work here as well. There is no better way to tuck your kids in for a good night’s rest, than telling them how much they are loved and how much they mean to you. Remember, you might be the only one telling your child they are valuable and have a beautiful, meaningful future ahead of them. Steering them in the direction of their dreaming as esteem bolstered kids, is the power of hugs and love affirmations.
8. END OF WEEK “HIGH FIVES” – FOR STICKING TO THE PLAN
There should always be a built in reward system for kids who work hard even if they have not quite mastered all of the bedtime rituals. Identifying areas of improvement is critical. High fives and other expressions of accomplishment, are seeds sown for the next week and the week after that and so on. Remembering to show supportive care of kids must become second nature. Their esteem wallows in your praises and acts of kindness. It is often asked if a glass is half full or half empty and the response must always be neither; it is consistently in the overflow.