Parenting Matters: Have a nice night’s sleep

A nice night’s sleep is what we all would like to have. But sometimes with a baby or even with a child it can elude us. But there are some things you can do to help make it happen.

No matter what age your child is, one thing you need to do each night is to calm the routine down to a slow pace. Keep the rough housing in the day and let it be an easier routine at night that isn’t filled with things that rev up your child’s motor. Even learning to have a nice night’s sleep is a skill you want your child to learn for the rest of his life.

Board games or toys like Lego or something soothing instead of the rough play help slow down the day and get your child ready to sleep. Then follow it up with a soothing bath and brushing teeth. Even if you don’t do the bath in the evening, never skip brushing the teeth. Take a few minutes so that your child get used to doing more than a quick job. This training is also meant to last a lifetime.

Then you or your little one can pick out a book or two to read.

If your child is older, make reading the end activity of the day. This beats the last minute phone calls to friends or the scary movie on television.

For your younger child, reading together for 10 or 15 minutes every day can be valuable to get him ready to sleep but also really promotes his learning to read. Parents ask about what if my child wants to read the same book over and over and it is important to reassure them that this is normal and just fine. Actually, reading the same book helps your child learn certain words and he might really enjoy saying those words when it comes up in the text.

Always end the day’s activities with a hug and a kiss no matter what your child’s age. He can’t have too many of them. When your child goes to sleep being calm and knowing that you love him and that he is important to you, it is a great way to end the day. Actually, it is also a great way to begin the next day.

When you end your child’s day in this way, it helps you to have a calm end of your day. We all need that to get a good night’s sleep. I am tired just writing about this. I think I will pick out a book and just relax to have a nice night’s sleep.

Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and director of Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers and grandparents. Reach Martin at or at 681-2250.


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