Settling Your Child At Bedtime

by Denise Chadwick - Date: 2006-12-05 - Word Count: 546 Share This!

It is very important for children and parents to share time together and the child's bedtime is an ideal opportunity to do this. Children really look forward to having a few minutes alone with one of their parents - their undivided attention after a hectic day.

Some restful music playing in the background will help to calm children down as they are getting ready for bed.

Here are some of the things that parents can do with their children to make them feel relaxed and cosy.

1. Read them a bedtime story- one which is not too long and complicated and which isn't too scary. Stories need to have a happy ending so that the child won't be lying awake worrying about what's happened. The stories shouldn't be overly exciting or too dramatic as this might keep the child awake. A few pleasant characters are better than a good character versus an evil one. Save this kind of story for during the day.

2. Put on a story tape- try not to choose one with lots of gimmicky sound effects. A soothing narrative is much better for a sleepy child. Just let your child drift off into a world of fantasy. Lie down next to them and enjoy the story yourself.

3. Chat quietly to them about their day or something that might interest them. It is an ideal opportunity to find out if there is anything bothering your child at home or at school - try not to get them too giddy or excited. Speak to them a little bit slower than you would normally and in a low, calming voice.

4. Children love to listen to nursery rhymes at bedtime. The familiar repetition and rhyme gives them confidence to join in. Don't say them too fast or too loud. Slow and rhythmical is better.

5. Play some soothing music and just listen together for a few minutes. You might find yourself dropping off to sleep as well. Therapy for parents as well as children.

Sometimes let the child choose for themselves which of the above they would like to do. It is very important for children and parents to share time in this way. However, if you are busy with another child or if you have something urgent that needs to be attended to, putting on a story tape is fine. If possible, try to find a couple of minutes to chat about the story to your child after they've finished listening to it. Talking and listening attentively to your child in a kind manner makes them feel loved and this really contributes to their language development. Children need to have meaningful conversations just as adults do.

If you are going out explain to the babysitter what your child's bedtime routine is and ask them to keep to it if possible. This will help the child to settle down to sleep more easily and will prevent them from getting overtired or fretful.

Our lives are becoming more and more hectic. Quiet moments listening to stories and music are therapeutic for both adults and children and will help to reduce stress which has built up during the day. Finding time to enjoy them will enrich your life and help you and your children to sleep peacefully and wake up feeling relaxed and ready for the new day.

Related Tags: time, stress, sleep, music, child, quality, bedtime, nursery, kid, story, settling, rhymes, sharing, babysitter

Denise Chadwick is the author of seven stories published on a children's bedtime story CD that is specially designed to relax youngsters and encourage restful sleep. Visit for more articles on helping children sleep better and tips on how to improve their bedroom.

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