The days can get so busy, that sometimes you feel like you've gone all day without really talking to your kids or connecting as a family. As kids get older and start participating in extracurricular activities, it can be even harder to find time to connect with them. But connecting before bed is really important. If your kids had a stressful day, or they are anxious about the following day, then bedtime can be a great place to talk about those feelings so they can get a good night of sleep.
It may also provide you some solace to know that you were able to spend quality time with your children and everyone can go to bed on a positive and connected note. Here are some ways to connect with your kids before bed.
Why it's important to wind down before bed
Day's are stressful, and this stress can negatively impact sleep. However, connectivity can offset this stress and provide you feelings of warmth and love. These connections are so important, even when your families may be the source of your stress.
Having a daily time to reconnect with one another can give everyone the space to address the things that may be bothering them (even if it's interpersonal) and a calm environment for open and honest conversation. This may help to relieve some negative feelings, as well as send everyone to bed feeling loved and heard.
Winding down is also a very important component of sleep hygiene. This can take form in various types of activities which will be discussed below!
Sometimes, just talking is the best way for the whole family to unwind is to spend time talking to one another. Life is so busy and electronics have taken over the most basic of communication, that you can go a lot longer than you think without an actual meaningful conversation.
Therefore, it's important to take time without distractions to really talk to your kids and find out what's going on in life. The more you prompt your kids to speak openly, the more comfortable they may feel as it will be a normal part of your routine.
These conversations aren't meant to be anxiety-provoking or stressful, but simply a way for each of you to open up about your day and thoughts so you can tuck them away until after bedtime is over.
Meditating may not be the easiest thing for kids to do, but there are things you can do to help get your children to relax before bedtime. Playing calming music and asking them to just lie still and think about something for two-five minutes can help.
There are some adjustments you may have to make, but as children get used to this practice, it will get easier to get them to be still and concentrate their mind on whatever you give them to think about. Before you know it, this practice will flow over into other parts of their lives, like school, where there are long periods of time they need to be still.
Practice doing this with them, as children love to emulate their parents. if you are are meditating and being still, so will they. But, if you are distracted, focusing on a million different things, or fidgeting, they will too!
Reading can be a really fun activity to do with your children before bed. It not only gives you a fun screen-free activity to do with them, it is also a learning activity for your children.
If they are just learning to read or are advancing their current reading skills, reading every night with a parent can really help them enjoy reading while providing a calm activity for you to do together. Choose fun books with pictures and interactive dialogue to really make story time an event they look forward to.
Reading is also a calm enough activity that both of you may be exhausted and ready to sleep for 8 hours straight when the book is finished!
Board or card game are also non-screen time activities you can do with your kids. If they are learning and interactive, like Go Fish or Matching games, then it's a double-fold activity. It helps get kids settled down for bed, but also helps them make really important brain connections before they go to sleep which is when learning really takes place for kids (especially at a really young age).
These games don't have to be anything too intense or stimulating, but just something fun the whole family can do together before it's time to go to bed.
Preparing for the next day
Another fun an easy activity you can do with your kids is get ready for the next day. They can help make their lunches or pick out their clothes, and it's a fun routine that everyone can do together. It signals that it's the end of the day, you are prepared for the next day, and now it's time to go to bed.
It also helps everyone be more organized for a (hopefully) smooth morning routine. The more you can do at night, the better rest you can get knowing that many of the mornings' tasks are already taken care of.
If your children are having serious sleep trouble, then please click the orange button below to take the free online sleep test and talk with a sleep professional at our facilities.