Sleep is So Important for Children: Nail the Bedtime Routine

There are statistics that show that children, all over the world, are getting less sleep than ever before. This is an alarming trend which some devastating consequences. Not being able to concentrate and focus in school is just the tip of the iceberg. Tired children could develop behavioural problems. In addition, family lives become disrupted and parents become distraught and stressed. There are a number of reasons that children aren’t getting enough sleep. Take a look at this post to see what the problems are and how to solve them…

Why Aren’t Children Getting Enough Sleep?

Why aren't children getting enough sleep

 

 

It is recommended that those aged around three years old should have about 11 hours of sleep a night. This drops to 10 hours for ten-year-olds, and nine hours for 15-year-olds. Often children aren’t getting this amount of sleep.

 

Some of the most common reasons for this lack of sleep include poor diets, dependance on technology and parent working longer hours. All of these can contribute to the problem of poor sleep and have to be tackles.

 

How Can We Improve Our Child’s Sleep?

How to improve our children's sleep

 

 

One of the main things to do is switch off all electronics and hour or so before bed. You may think that watching cartoons or playing on an iPad is calming your child down, but it’s not. What technology actually does is keep us awake. Basically, the light that comes from the TV or your smartphone or computer disrupts the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which is released as the sun goes down. It makes us feel tired. This is part of the problem. The other problem is that children are becoming increasingly ‘addicted’ to technology. It’s difficult for children to switch off both mentally, and literally, from the piece of tech they’re using before bed. When they do tear themselves away their brains are still working overdrive and they haven’t calmed down.

 

Poor diet is another problem. If our children are eating the wrong things before, or too close to bed, they won’t settle. Avoid any sugary foods before bed. This will cause an energy spike and make them restless. Instead, a healthy balanced meal is best. Give your child time to digest before bed. This means they won’t be up during the night needing the toilet.

 

Another way to improve sleep is to focus on the small things. Make sure your child has a bath before bed. Hot soapy water is a great way to relax a child. In addition, it will make distracting them from screen easier. Once they’ve had a bath make sure you have comfortable pajamas for them to slip into. Kids Fendi have some great options which are soft on children’s skin and comfortable. Avoid anything too restrictive. Then read a story or have some quiet time before bed. No overly stimulating play or computer screens. Get your child into this routine so that they know it’s coming up to bedtime.

 

sleep is so important for children: how to nail the bedtime routine

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Arthur is 34 months old

Arthur is now 34 months old.
Arthur is 34 months old

This month has gone by like a flash.
The first half we had Mark home with us as it was school Easter holidays, Arthur always loves it when Daddy is off work!!

Daddy is big favourite to Arthur right now, he must say Daddy at least 100 times a day!

During the Easter holidays We had our amazing trip to Silhouette island where Arthur had an absolute blast.  He still talks about going to “our little house” now which I love!
Arthur is 34 months old. Silhouette island

Arthur is 34 months old. Arthur and Daddy

Arthur had an unplanned couple of hours at school this month as I had to take Freddie to hospital (he’s totally fine but more on that here!)
Mark took him into the class and apparently he was as good as gold and had a great time.  When I went to go and pick him up he was happy to see me but wasn’t ready to go home!!  I took that as a good sign for when he starts in June!

The following couple of days Arthur napped on the sofa at lunchtime!!  I was SO excited at the prospect of nap time returning but it seems it was just a random couple of days!!

I’ve been a little worried about Arthur’s eating recently.  He is pretty reluctant to eat a full meal most days and just wants to get on with playing (Mark’s mum tells me he was exactly the same!!) he seems happiest with smaller meals and snacks throughout the day.  Obviously I want to make sure he has enough to eat but at the same time I don’t want him to just snack all the time…. It’s pretty frustrating!

We had a couple weeks of at nighttime accidents.  Changing sheets every day grew thin quickly, but things seem to be back on track now.  Not really sure what caused it.  Apparently it’s really common up to 6 years old to not be dry at night so I need to remember just how good Arthur has been doing so far!!

Arthur has always been very shy with strangers and often will hide or pretend they aren’t there!!  We have noticed a little shift in Arthurs shyness this month, he has started to open up to people a little more, showing him the toy he’s playing with or something along those lines.  It’s not all the time and not with everyone but I have been really amazed and proud of him for it.  It may not be a big deal to everyone, but knowing just how painfully shy he can be it is a big deal for him!!

This month we’ve started to see Arthur testing and pushing boundaries quite a bit, doing things he knows he shouldn’t be and trying out new things!  There has been lots of “NO MUMMY” “NO DADDY” and running away if we tell him to stop doing something, or just outright ignoring us!
It’s been tough, but he’s quick to turn it all around with a big “cuggle” a kiss or even just a cheesy grin!

Arthur is 34 months old

Mark and I are definitely noticing that Arthur is becoming a lot braver with his little adventures whether that’s just in the garden, at the beach or anywhere really…he climbs a bit higher, wanders a bit further away, just generally gaining confidence with everything he does, it’s great but scary for us too!
Arthur is 34 months old. Arthur at anse lazioArthur is 34 months old. Splashing at anse lazio

He’s been a proper little parrot this month, I think he’s taking in lots of new words (so we’ve really had to watch what we say!!).  His speech continues to develop all the time and some of the things he comes out with really amazes me, and often makes us all laugh too!

I have had days where I have found it really tough to keep him entertained all day, for me it’s final confirmation that he really is ready to be in school!!   It’s really not long until he will be there now, so on those days that are tough I’ve been trying to remind myself to make the most of it all!

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Arthur is 32 months old

Arthur is 32 months old.
32 months old
This month has been a busy one.  We have not only moved house, but we also had a week without Mark when he went to London to interview new teachers.

I was a little worried about how Arthur would deal with the house move this time around.  We spoke about it loads in the month leading up to it and we were lucky enough to have the key for that month so we could visit lots (and spread the move over time which helped loads!). That meant Arthur had lots of time to get used to and explore our new house.  He’s been so happy here right from the start.  He loves his new room and slept great right fro, the start.
Every morning he’s been waking up and saying “nice new house”.  It makes me so happy!!
We have also had a little sleep revalation since we’ve moved.  Arthur now sleeps, or at least is happy to stay in his room until about 7am every day!!  For anyone that knows us, or regularly reads my blog you will know what a dream that is!  Arthur has always been an early riser (like 5am early) and so for me to be able to get up have a shower and a cup of tea before he’s up has changed our whole day let alone morning!!

His later wake ups mean I’ve been getting a chance to get myself sorted and prepared for my little whirlwind when he gets up!!

I’ve also been giving him breakfast as soon as he wakes up, that’s cut out early morning TV time and asking for cookies every morning!!

I can’t express enough how much of a difference this has made to our whole day.  Everyone starts the day less grumpy and it really does set the tone for the whole day.

Not sure if it’s connected but Arthur is showing less and less interest in the TV, he does like it on but he rarely sits through anything any more.

Arthur does have time on the iPad every day.  It’s the same time every day and it’s always taken away after the same amount of time.  It’s not connected to the Internet and only has the apps allowed by us.  He is always really good when it’s time to take it off him.  There are some that will be quite judgemental of us allowing him to play on it but now he’s not napping it’s the only truly quiet time  I get during the day.  It gives me a bit of time to reset and get some stuff done and so for us it’s all good.

He is showing much more interest in his toys each day.  He plays so nicely and it’s really lovely to watch as well as jumping in and getting involved with him.

One of Arthur’s favourite games to play with me is ‘picnic’.  The best thing about this is that we use nothing to play it except our imaginations!  We sit down and munch away on whatever Arthur fancies ‘eating’ at the time, it quite often involves sweeties and chocolate cake but just as often some juice and apples (just like his real life requests!)
He also loves to sit down and read stories both with us and alone.  I love listening him to while he “reads” any of his stories it’s so cute!

I am being increasingly aware of the fact that Arthur will be starting school soon. He will be going in for the last half term of the school year, I think just for mornings and maybe only a couple days a week depending how he gets on! He will be starting properly in September. I’m trying to soak in all the moments I can with him right now. Don’t get me wrong there are times when I’m totally ready for him to, like mid tantrum; but in general I know I’ll miss him lots when he starts!!

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I have lost the nap war

It’s official, Arthur is no longer napping during the day.  I have lost the nap war.

I have lost the nap war, how it happened and what I'm gonna do about it

I have written about previous nap battles in the past.  We’ve had struggles, but in the end I’ve always ‘won’ and nap time would continue.  Little blimps have occurred here and there but Arthur would always end up napping again.
I suppose it was always inevitable that despite him losing these battles, Arthur would always win the war.

A long time ago I remember reading somewhere that kids need to nap until they were three.  I would always remember that during times when Arthur would resist going down for a nap.  It would be my motivation to keep trying to get him to sleep.  Now Arthur is 2.5 years and I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on an extra 6 months of nap times, I guess like all parenting advice out there, we’ve learned to take it with a pinch of salt!

 

How we knew it was time to let it go.
Arthur was always great at nap time, we could put him in his bedroom and we would know he’d be asleep within a couple of minutes.
Over the last few months it’s been taking him longer and longer to go down for a nap.
I initially put his nap time back by an hour and this did help for a short while.  Even then it was not long before he started taking ages to go down, I’m talking over an hour.

When he would eventually go to sleep, I’d give him his couple hours and then go and wake him up.  He’d then be in an unbelievably bad mood.  This wasn’t too bad when we could snap him out of it within 20 mins or so.  The problem came when it started taking him around an hour to get out of a serious grump.
When I’m talking about a grump, I don’t just mean in a bit of a bad mood – I can relate to being in a bit of a bad mood when I get up.  I mean a foul horrible mega tantrum filled mood.

We tried a few different ways to try and solve these issues.  Waking him up nice and slowly with lots of cuddles.  Waking him up quickly and leaving him to it.  Pretty much everything in between.
We tried shortening his nap.  We tried running him ragged until he without doubt definitely needed a sleep.

In the end when it was generally taking more than an hour for him to go to sleep and then around the same time to get him back to his usual happy self.  We decided that it wasn’t worth the upset for us all. We would try and struggle through and see how we go.

You might think that I’ve given up to soon, with this.  Believe me that’s not the case, I am going to seriously miss Arthur’s nap time.  Those two hours were my time; to do some blogging, to eat my lunch in peace, to do nothing in particular!
It’s been Christmas holiday’s and Its been really nice having Mark home but I’m honestly a little worried about how I will cope when he goes back to school.

Obviously there’s Freddie to entertain too and I feel bad that he now won’t be getting any solo time with me.

 

What we are gonna do about it

So looking forward, my plan is to try and ensure that I’ve got lots of activities planned for Arthur, to keep him from being bored, because if there’s one thing that’s worse than a tired toddler, it’s a tired and bored toddler!!
It would be easy for me to just stick the TV on but I’m trying to limit that!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way frowning on TV, I’m not sure how I’d get through the day without it at all but I know we function better when there’s some structure to TV time (Arthur knows when he can have it and when he can’t and so it limits whining!)
I am also going to test out some “down time” for Arthur where he’s in his bedroom without sleeping, if anyone has any tips for this please let me know!!

Arthur will be starting at school, in June.  It will be a blink of an eye until he’s there.  I will do my best to remind myself of this on the tougher days and try to enjoy every second with my little guy!

In just a couple of weeks we have already noticed Arthur’s night time sleep adjusting.  He has always been a really early riser, getting up around 5am ish. 6 would be a mega lie in for us!  However, we are now getting 6am as the normal and have even had some 7-7:30am wake ups.  This is a definite bonus of losing nap time!  There have been a couple times, when we’ve had really busy days that Arthur has crashed out on the sofa or fallen asleep in the car.  Not for any considerable amount of time and he doesn’t seem to be quite as grumpy when waking up from these.

 

Have you lost the nap war yet, or are you still living the nap time dream with your little ones?
Any tips on quiet time/down time for toddlers I’d love to hear them!

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27 months

Arthur is 27 months old!
Arthur is 27 months old

This month we have had Nana and Farj here with us (my mum and dad!).  They were here not that long ago in May and when they pulled up at our house without prompting Arthur ran over and said “nana, farj” even though he’d never said it before…..you can imagine how delighted mum and dad were!!
We all had a great time with them and it was their first time meeting Freddie!
Arthur had sleepovers with them, trips out, lots of sweets and ice cream, and was generally spoiled rotten!

While mum and dad were here I got a little braver with potty training and started going out and about without nappies, he’s done so well!  We have also started having dry nappies at nap time and even some overnight too!!   One problem though is that Arthur already doesn’t like nap time but now when I put a nappy on him he knows that signals nap so I think I might need to stop putting them on him at nap time too
I will write a post about our potty training journey at some point!!

Arthur really is a little parrot at the moment and is picking up new words all over the place!  He is putting words together more and more, particularly when he is re-telling a book or something he’s seen on TV (mostly a peppa pig episode or thomas the tank engine movie!)
He can say all the numbers 1-10 now and can always do 7,8,9,10 in the right order, he loves counting everything!
Something that makes me really laugh is that he’s starting to use words to distract us, at nap time he starts telling me what all his different teddies are “snake, twit twooo (owl), pakka (makka pakka)…..” He also told me he needed a poo as I tried to put his pants on him the other day, so I stopped and then he just wondered off – outwitted by a 2 year old,  brilliant!

Right now Arthur is really in to Thomas the tank engine. He would watch it all day if he could!! Perhaps a trip to Thomas land is in order next summer when we visit the UK!

He still absolutely loves being a big brother, the start of every day it’s Freddie he’s most excited about seeing not me!!

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen we’ve had another new arrival in our family!  We have got a puppy!  His name is Koopa (yes, as in Koopa Troopa from Mario!)
Koopa and Arthur are great little buddies and spend lots of time marching around the garden, chasing each other around and generally just having lots of fun.
Arthur and Koopa, toddler and puppy

My parents left a week ago now so now we are starting to figure out and settle down into our routine. It’s something I’ve been worried about but so far we seem to be doing pretty well. By the time I write next months update I’m hoping to be feeling more confident about it all!

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25 months old

Arthur has just turned 25 months old.

25 months old

I can’t believe it’s already been a month since his second birthday, that’s absolutely flown by!!

His speech is continuing to improve with what feels like new words appearing every day!!!
A new word that has definitely hugely influenced how he communicates with us is “show” as in ‘show you’.  He grabs us by the hand and says “show show”

Our nap battles have been continuing.  I can’t bring myself to give up trying.  He definitely still needs sleep and will still go to sleep often enough for me to still have some hope!!!  The days he doesn’t nap he often crashes out somewhere late on in the day, usually the car!

Tantrums continue, I do feel that as Arthur can comminicate better they are easier to resolve.  The days where Arthur doesn’t nap are always worse because he’s tired and grumpy!

This month Arthur has been absolutely loving painting.  It’s been pretty much every day this month!  We’ve had his lovely little easel outside so mess has (mostly) been contained to out there!
25 months old painting

We’ve also seen Arthur really enjoying sorting out colours.  I’ve been trying to help him learn his colours with this.

We’ve been making towers
25 months old colour sorting

Sorting foam letters into the right colour boxes.

25 months old colour sorting

Arthur has also enjoyed taking lids on and off the paintpots and putting them back on the right colour!

Potty training is going well, we’ve still not gone out the house without nappies aside from the odd trip home in the car from the beach!   We decided with such big changes coming soon we wouldn’t push our luck!

This month, unbeknownst to Arthur, has included some lasts for us!
The one that got me the most was halfway through Mark’s last day of school, I realised that this would be the last day just me and Arthur at home.   I got really sad when I realised this, and I’m ok to admit that I’m all teary writing this now too!  Of course, I’m beyond super excited about our little boy bump arriving in our family, but I still worry all the time about how he (okay, I mean we) will cope with our world turning upside down again!!

Since Mark finished work for summer we’ve been having an amazing time, we’ve had loads of time at the beach, at the pool, in the garden and just generally enjoying our time together!!

25 months old family time at the pool

With one week until we go to Mahe, and just over 2 weeks until little boy bump arrives the next update for Arthur will definitely be an interesting one….it will definitely have been a busy month for him, and us all!

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