It’s 7pm in the typical family’s household. Dinner is over. Bedtime is so close, yet so far. Kids are bouncing off the walls and collapsing on the floor in tantrums, and parents are trying to not tear out their hair.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the witching hour.
This time of day is a struggle for most parents, but helping your kids transition to bedtime can be mad easier with a few simple tricks.
First, schedule dinner carefully. Ideally, your family should eat their last heavy meal of the day two to three hours before turning in. Remember to also limit fluid intake after dinner to reduce nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Next, pay attention to the lighting in your home. As bedtime approaches, try cutting off overhead lights and sticking with dimmer table lamps. This reduction in light will work as a cue to your kids’ brains that bedtime is coming up soon.
You might also want to try switching the TV off at least 30 minutes before sending the kids off to bed. Televisions emit a high level of light from the blue end of the spectrum. Light at this frequency suppresses melatonin (a hormone that helps set the sleep cycle) and works like environmental caffeine.
Finally, think about using music as a way to signal to your kids (and their brains) that it’s bedtime. In fact, Grammy Award-winning singer Jewel has recently released a CD called “Lullaby” that is the perfect background music for the bedtime transition. Add that to your family’s collection of favorites, and the kids will be drifting off in no time.