Sleep Tight with The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, etc
In the morning, talk about how good you/they feel after sleeping well
In the evening, talk about how tired/low energyyou/theyfeel, and how good you'll feel in the morning
And as your child grows, they'll also likely want more information or 'proof' around why sleep is so essential.
You can work with your child to learn more about what happens while we sleep and why's in necessary.
Modelling Healthy Sleep Habits
With the frantically paced society we live in, most of us don't get enough rest or sleep.
How can we expect our children to understand the importance of sleep if we don't model it?
We can model healthy sleep by:
Making sure we prioritize our sleep.It was actually this book, Raising Antiracist Children, that helped me to view sleep as a form of self-care.
When we get enough sleep, we also stop complaining about how tired we are
We also stop complaining about how late we went to bed
All of this tells our children that we prioritize sleep and the care of our bodies.
Theyinternalize this message and carry it into their teenage years and adulthood.
As Always, Routines Help
Children, especially young children, thrive on routines. The predictability helps them to feel more secure and confident.
While it's fun to stay up late or skip bath sometimes, routines do make bedtime easier on everyone.
A consistent bedtime routine also prevents prolonged, undesirable behaviour at bedtime, like fighting/delaying bedtime, teeth brushing, pajamas, etc.
This is because ofintermittent reinforcement- when boundaries and rules are only enforced some of the time.
When we only enforce boundaries some of the time, children learn that there's always achancethey'll get what they want.
Just knowing they could skip bath or stay up late, makes it that much more likely they'll keep asking to do it every night.
So while in the short term, it can harder to be 'a broken record' and consistently stick with your bedtime routine... in the long run, consistency is often a much easier way to change negative behaviour.
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