Napping and sleeping are very important! This is when your child's body is repairing and growing the most. Brain cell growth happens when your child get's enough rest--other wise they will experience burnout which impacts the home family dynamics negativily. Not only does this effect the person who cares for them the most, it could effect your home family dynamics and their class day.
If your child is not well rested he is not an able learner or socializer. These children will be upset with the world and take it out on the parent who is with them, the class teacher and their friends.... This is called setting your child up for failure instead of success... Try your hardest to make sure this doesn't happen to your child...
A confident parent know's how to set their child up for daily success... Your the parent--not your child. We want to set he child up for success in all areas of life-sleeping, eating, class and social events. This will not be attained if the parent tries to keep their child emotionally at younger age than what the child really is.....
Give your child choices when it comes to choosing outfits the night before, for the next day, is a good starting point. When it comes to bed time routine-the adult needs to be assertive enough to keep to the regular bed time routine-every day and night. If your child wants you to do something different--let them know that you understand but this is not a choice situation for them but they can choose other things on other subjects the next day.
Once the bedtime routine is broken it can take up to 10 days to fix it. It's best not to change the bedtime routine because it will be one less thing to get back to routine on. These are the foggy years for a young child so changing it one night usually isn't a huge problem but once it's done 2 or more times, it has changed to a new routine.
Bedtime should be lights out everywhere except where you are with them, healthy snack, potty, wash hands, brush teeth, pj's, bed, hugs/kiss/eye contact, read a page from a book they choose or a whole story-if your not too tired and can finish it for them. Door should be shut just in case there is a fire-they will learn that this is the routine--they will buck it for a few weeks until it becomes a real routine and that they see that your following through--which is very important--be a parent of action--not just words (match words with action). If you let them deviate from the routine they will try to get you to deviate again... (they are smart but you can show them your smarter than them).
- Turn out all the lights in the house to shut out all stimulous-you might need black out curtains for their room. Children naturally follow lights and the adult taking care of them so commit yourself to sitting with the child in a safe rocking chair/chair next to their bed (not laying down with child this doesn't create and independant sleeper) If you decide to sleep with your child it will create a dependancy for you to be with them when ever they need to go to sleep and it could hurt your family home dynamics in the long run. This can be turned around but it takes weeks to undo. Save the extra cuddles for when they wake up-you can form a close bond this way as they adjust to waking up--instead of going to sleep. Babies need help because they are helpless and can't walk- a child that can walk is ready to learn self help skills.
- Create a daily routine, doing this will create a positive independant sleeper-a nice reflection on you and your parenting skills. You could read a short story,one page story or make up a story to help your child fall asleep (ask them no questions at this time please-it will help them settle down faster). If you read to your child when they are awake then ask questions of what happened in the story because at this time your wanting to stimulate cognitive thinking but when they go to sleep you want to sooth them with non scary/violent/action stories. Reading or stories should be gentle.
- If your child has an active mind and is thinking negative thoughts redirect their thoughts to positive memories of birthday parties, holiday's or even favorite events... Tell them think about happy things and mention the above things...
- After your done reading, do your check book, type on a lap top computer or simply read a magazine or book for YOU! Learn to slip out when your child is in deep sleep-- if they are snoring or breathing heavy or they look fairly warm and sweaty, you could slip out quietly. This might be your chance to take a shower if your house is safe and secure and child proofed. Maybe you would like to start dinner, good time to get the crock pot doing something for you and your family for the end of the day or maybe for tomorrow?
- Turn of radio's, TV's-this is usually eratic noise-- unless your using a station as white noise sound --like ocean sound-it needs to continue for hours and not end ubruptly until the child awakens.
- Purchase a sound machine for white noise --great investment! White noise helps the child block out eratic noises from the house and neighborhood--phones, lawn mowers, sibblings, hammering, saws and etc... It helps them get that deep sleep they need to be able to be a positive person and a child that can absorb lots of information. It helps them grow, heal their bodies and immunity plus it's really good for synaps growth --which helps for cognitive learning.
- If you have a baby--plan ahead! Put the diaper bag next to you with quiet books and feely toys. Have a bottle ready, blankie, pacifier, blankets, rocker--anything to help get your other child to sleep. The key is to prepare ahead of time so your ready for your baby to make noise and you can maybe entertain them so your other child gets proper daily rest.
- Walk your child and make sure they get enough daytime excercise--keep away from too much salts and sugars--these might keep your child awake.
- If your child is struggling with going to sleep-have them have a banana, turkey and warm milk--very soothing and it has natural triptophan in it to help them get tired especially if they've had sugar (fructose, honey, white sugar basically any forms of sugar that are hidden in many foods).... (if they are allergic then use the one they aren't allergic too.
- Adults who can keep the children on a napping and bedtime routine daily have the most success! It shows that your organized and the benefits are amazing... Less stress in your family dynamics, less stress if the child goes to someone else's to play and even better for them for class social play. It helps their immune system, cognitive thinking, helps them grow while they sleep and heal. Kids who don't take naps can be whiny and outward to everyone for the rest of the day. It takes a two to 3 week commitment daily to get them on this healthy routine.