Inside this Post: Your best sleep hack to get kids to go to sleep is about changing your narrative around bedtime. Get kids to sleep without bribery, begging, or pleading.
The Single *Most Important* Factor You’re Missing When Trying to Get Kids to Sleep
As adults, the one thing we can agree on we want more of is… sleep.
Wouldn’t it be great to squeeze in a daily nap right alongside our kids?
When we were kids, sleep was one of those daily events you fought tooth and nail to shorten, wake up early from or have sleepovers until the wee hours of the next day and survive easily without it. (or so we thought.)
Now, as adults, there’s nothing that feels better than a full nights uninterrupted sleep and a Sunday cat nap.
That’s because we know how important sleep is to our health, mood, energy and ability to keep up with our kids who move at cheetah speed 14 hours every day.
Convincing kids their bodies need quality sleep, and catching shut eye for a significant amount of hours each day affects every part of their well being… well, that can take a heroic effort for parents.
The importance of sleep cannot be overstated.
The thing is… when kids think of sleep as a required task and we tag a negative connotation to it, the push back shouldn’t be at all surprising.
Who wants to do something that’s not fun, required and simply because our parents told us to?
Not my kids, and probably not yours either.
But, to get kids to sleep easier and better, we have to first understand where the pushback comes from.
Here’s the secret to better sleep for kids.
This –> Your approach to convincing your child to sleep is all wrong.
So, let’s change your sleep narrative for better results.
How to Change Our Approach to Convincing, Begging & Pleading for Kids to Sleep
As adults, we love sleep because it makes us feel better.
It gives us energy. It refreshes our brain and our muscles have time to recover and our body and foggy brain feels immediately better with a fresh start.
We love sleep for all the benefits it gives us.
But kids don’t know any of this.
They are taught from early on that sleep is part of the daily routine, and also, because it’s a requirement.
Some parents explain the importance of sleep is, but laying out the facts and “teaching” doesn’t exactly boost it’s appeal for kids under the age of 18.
The question then becomes – “how can I make sleep fun for kids so they don’t fight bedtime, don’t put up a stink at nap time and yet, I know they’re getting enough sleep?”
It’s quite simple actually.
You make it into a fun game for kids, because after all, what do kids love the most about their day?
Having fun and playing.
Sleep is still a time to rest your body, but your approach to sleep needs to shift towards something playful and fun for your kids to buy into the idea and stop pushing against it.
And trust me, taking this approach makes all the difference.
Having Fun at Bedtime Is the Trick
When I say it’s time to add a drop of fun to sleep times, I do not mean winding our kids up before we ask them to fall asleep.
Its’ about how you talk about sleep and help get your kids excited for it.
This is why we’ve renamed nap time and bedtime in our house to “dreamtime.”
Dreams are magical.
They’re creative and happy, inspiring and most of all, fun!
Here are the two parts to make dreamtime special and something to look forward to:
- Prep your kids for sleep times by getting excited about “dreamtime” by talking how fun having dreams are, and what types of dreams you hope to have.
- After your child wakes up, have a conversation about their dreams.
- Ask questions about what they remember and let them go into great detail about their dreams.
- A tinge of excitement and awe in your voice gets kids excited about sharing their dreams!
- When you rehash dreams, kids start to form a habit of looking forward to dreamtime as well as waking up and sharing with you after.
Soon enough, going to sleep and having dream time becomes a rewarding part of the day… not a burden or unwelcome part to your daily routine.
Dreamtime is important for kids sleep habits because…
- It’s sleep time (and we know it’s significance to children)
- Kids start to think of sleep as fun and are excited to have dreams.
- Going to sleep becomes a reward, not a battle!
- Gives children a time to connect with their parents, or caregiver afterwards where they’re the center of attention
When you use the dreamtime tactics, kids want to go to sleep because it’s fun and for parents, it’s a simple change to your approach that doesn’t require tricks, bribery, begging, anger or frustration.
And that’s a great trade-off, right?
Need a little extra help starting or adjusting your daily routine? Here’s a FREE Course that will help you take control & bring more peace to your home.
More Sleep & Routine Resources:
- 11 Helpful Charts for Kids: Chores, Reward & Daily Routines to Help Kids Thrive
- Create an Awesome Routine for Better Sleep Habits
- 6 Tips to Get Your Child Out of Bed in the Morning Without a Fight
- Sleep Strategies for a Good Night’s Sleep & Daily Routines for Kids
- Create a Routine: 6 Sample Toddler Schedules from Real Moms