3 Tips on Adjusting Sleep Schedule
As promised, here are the tips on adjusting sleep schedule for your little ones. Some parents took my suggestion of an early bedtime to heart and said it is so hard to get their child to sleep at the earlier bedtime. So I asked, what time did he used to sleep and now what time are you trying to get him to bed? The answer was from 11pm to a new bed time of 9pm. Of course it is not going to work! To be more specific, below are some tips you can refer to.
#1 Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine and Ultimately A Consistent Bedtime
Humans and dogs too, :) are creatures of habit. We are quite easily conditioned. If the only time you donned sports wear is to walk the dog, your dog will be all excited and can even bring the leash as the days go by to get ready for a walk. Same goes with humans. My little one used to start screaming when I carried her into her room if she was not ready for bed. That was when she was around 5 months old. There you go, our bedtime routine starts in the bedroom. The bedroom is not for anything but sleep... and maybe changing diapers.
You can choose to have a bath before bedtime and then a bedtime story. Or you can choose to have a shower then sing lullabies and turn on the night lamp... or read bedtime stories, tell each other about your day, ask him what was the best thing that happened today (practicing gratitude) before lights out... turn on the essential oil humidifier... anything that you know you can commit to. Everyday. Consistently. Any activity that has calming energy.
So every night before it is time to sleep, routines help to condition your child to wind down for sleep.
#2 Strictly No Screen Time An Hour Before Bed
This is non-negotiable. No matter what age your child is. Even for adults. Screen from the tv, phone, iPad emits white light. Yes, you can cut down the white light to a night mode but there will still be white light from the devices. Noticed any hotels and restaurants using bright white fluorescent light in their premises? Of course not! Maybe only the Chinese kopitiam will install those but kopitiam only cares about the turn-over rate of tables. The faster you eat and go-off, the faster the next customer gets to order, eat and off they go. Kopitiam do not want you to stay.
Warm lighting sets the mood to relax. You want to set the mood for the child to stay. In bed. Sometimes I end up falling sleep too in my daughter's bed. Setting is too good.
White light stimulates daytime sunlight. It disturbs our circadian cycle. Signaling to our body its daytime.
#3 Adjust Bedtime Gradually
Instead of setting a 9pm from the usual 11pm, do 10.40pm for two days, then 10.20pm for two days... 10.20pm is the time that the child is asleep. Not the time you would start your bedtime routine. Depending on how many books you want to commit to reading or how many lullabies you want to sing... believe me, after awhile, your child will demand the Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star you are skipping right after the Baa Baa Black Sheep, set the going into the room time accordingly.
If your child does not immediately fall asleep at the 20mins earlier time you have set, be consistent and persistent, it will slowly get there.
In my house, the best bonding time I have with my daughter is the few or can be many minutes before her bedtime. I have read so much to her when she was young that she has picked up reading before bedtime habit herself. But before she puts herself to bed, YES! it is quite possible, we would have a lovely conversation. Sometimes it was about how she does not want to get old, wrinkly and die. Or that why can we not give the bees our empty bottle of honey to have the bees refill it. Or the most recent one was if only we could shrink into the size of bacteria and get eaten by a lion then be digested and pooped out and transform to be bigger than the lion and eat it instead. Yes. Very interesting stuff.
Best thing about setting an early bedtime is that you can have your own time after the children goes to bed.