Our survey told us that almost one in ten parents let their children decide what time they go to bed, while almost one in five parents let their children watch TV or play games when they do actually go to bed. What's perhaps most surprising, is that one in ten parents don't actually have a fixed bedtime for their children*.
With such alarming results about those all-important bedtimes, we've created a guide for parents, helping them to ensure their little ones are fully rested and well-equipped for their day ahead.
It's All About The Routine
Practice really does make perfect when it comes to bedtime routine, and after a few nights the children are sure to get the hang of it. The best time of day to start the routine is about half an hour before your children are due to be tucked in. Create a little bit of winding-down time - whether that's a nice warm bath, reading their favourite story or just spending a little time one-to-one chatting through the day's events.
BabyCentre© even recommends spending a little time quietly playing together before bed. The parenting site recommends doing this in your child's bedroom, as well as making sure the game you choose is simple enough to not get them too excited! As with your very own evening routine, your child will certainly benefit from a little chill time!
When the children really don't want to go to sleep, they're sure to let you know about it with all manner of excuses. From the incessant questions and request for a glass of water, to simply wanting to be tucked in just one more time - there's a line that must be drawn somewhere!
Developing a routine is a great way to combat the many excuses you're perhaps used to. You can incorporate their frequent requests into the routine, so they'll get used to being tucked in, read to, and kissed goodnight just the one time! That way, your child will be relaxed and prepared to drift off, without calling you back five times first!
Create The Ideal Space
Part of what helps when trying to get to sleep is the environment you're in. Advice from the NHS explains how having things like a TV and other electronics in the same room can detract from the sleep experience, as well as other things such as the room being too bright, or the bed being too uncomfortable.
Take a look at your child's room and make sure it's the best possible setup for a good night's sleep. Include a bed they find comfortable, suitable curtains and a space to relax. If they're a little uneasy sleeping in the dark, a night light or leaving their door open can work wonders.
A routine is not a routine if it's different every time you do it, so the main thing to remember here is to keep things consistent. That doesn't mean to say you have to grin and bear it through the same story every night, it's just the timings and the general structure of the bedtime routine that's important.
Parenting.com has some great tips for perfecting the bedtime routine. We particularly like the sound of a little children's bedtime yoga - a great way to stretch out and help the little ones to feel relaxed in the evenings. Another great piece of advice from Parenting is to adjust your voice and speak more quietly when preparing the children for bed. This way they'll associate your soothing voice with the time to be calm, and drift off to sleep.
*Survey of 1019 UK parents conducted by TLF Panel on behalf of Furniture Choice. The survey was conducted in September 2015.