Bedtime Routines and "Tips for a Sleep-happy Summer" by Dr. Nicky Cohen | Toronto Teacher Mom

Bedtime Routines and "Tips for a Sleep-happy Summer" by Dr. Nicky Cohen

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Now that we are in the midst of summer, it's quite obvious that bedtime routines will require some adjustments here and there. My kids are well aware of the positioning of the sun and have an endless repertoire of excuses reasons why they shouldn't go to bed at their regular time of 7:30 pm. Since we don't have to be up early the next morning, I think it's okay to let them stay up an extra hour but I feel it's important that they stick to the routine, which isn't always steadfast but we try to adhere to it as much as possible.

One hour before bed: During this time, it's important to let the kids wind down. This means we try to avoid any television or computer games. Instead, we prefer quieter activities such as colouring or playing a simple board game.

Thirty minutes before bed: This time is usually designated for bath time which we follow up with brushing our teeth.

Fifteen minutes before bed: Story time! My kids both love reading and being read to. It's important to give them time to read to me as it is the other way around. Even though my son can't read yet, he is familiar with many stories and he can ad-lib quite well. Sometimes we read one story together or we read as many as three. We all pile into one bed and snuggle up or sometimes I will read to each of them in their own bed. There are plenty of books in both rooms. One of the newest books in our library is What Are You Doing, Sam? by Marie-Louise Gay.

Generally, my kids have been going to bed on their own but it hasn't been without a lenghty battle. After several nights of tears and tantrums, however, I have come to the conclusion that crying and having fits is no way to set an example for my children. Instead, I must remain calm and reasonable because really, parents shouldn't have tantrums, right? I have finally accepted that I cannot force my children to do anything they don't want to do. But I can set rules and expectations. Oh, yes!

Previously, my children had become accustomed to having one of us lay down next to them at bedtime. Well, in most cases, it was my husband who would lay down next to them, even after I set down the rule that they must go to sleep on their own. I understand that when you're tired, it might seem easier to lay down and catch some zzz's while the little one is lulled to sleep with your snoring. My husband may or may not consider that multi-tasking. Trust me, though, if you don't want to share a twin size mattress with your child for the next ten years, lay down that rule. NOW! It's hard to resist their puppy dog looks and innocent pleas to have you cuddle with them. I know. That's why I tried this bed time tip that worked for me for a few weeks. I also remind them continually of the rule that we will no longer lay down next to them. I don't expect them to fall asleep right away and they are more than welcome to read one more book on their own. But they must learn to be more independent when it comes to bed time. In fact, this is one of the tips in Dr. Nicky Cohen's article "Tips for a Sleep-Happy Summer."

Je n'ai pas pu trouver une version français de son article. Donc, je vais essayer de traduire les points clés ci-dessous.

Soyez certain que sa chambre facilite le sommeil. C'est à dire, elle doit être une espace comfortable, pas trop chauffée et sans bruit. Et comme il fait beaucoup de soleil en été, des stores seront utiles.

Assurez que votre enfant s'endort indépendamment. Ça, c'est difficile, mais s'il aprend à le faire, il sera mieux capable de s'endormir seul s'il se lève pendant la nuit.

Faites des signaux que la nuit c'est pour se coucher. On peut utiliser un minuterie avec la veilleuse. Quand la lumière est éteinte, c'est l'heure du coucher. Quand elle est allumée, c'est l'heure de se réveiller.

C'est important de respecter les habitudes du rituel tous les soirs. En les respectant, votre enfant s'endort plus rapidement et vous assurez que son sommeil soit suffisant. L'heure du coucher qui convient le mieux chez les jeunes enfants c'est entre 19 h et 20 h ou 20 h 30 pour les enfants d'âge préscolaire.

If you would like to read more about toddler and preschooler’s sleep, Dr. Cohen references additional sites near the end of her article. For additional educational and interesting articles, visit the Parents section on Also, if you're a fan of Disney Junior Canada on Facebook, you have a chance to submit questions that will be passed along to Dr. Cohen and responses will be shared with the online community!

Plus, stay tuned in August for some exciting Disney Junior news!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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