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Anyone with children and/or a puppy would understand that transitions from playtime to bedtime can be challenging, especially when uncertainty or fear are the cause. Wendy Haynes knows this all too well being a mother, grandmother, and puppy owner! Writing her story, Hayden’s Bedtime, for her young grandson, Wendy explains the importance of a consistent, calm and organised bedtime routine. Thanks for the advice, Wendy! 🙂
We (my partner Steve and I) just picked up our bundle of joy – Lucy, a Fox Terrier, and over the first few nights, I felt like I was at the beginning of motherhood all over again.
Lucy cried and scratched at the door, and we took it in turn to console her. We nursed her back to sleep, we patted her, we put the radio on low, we put a clock in her bed, and we had little sleep. It reminded me why I wrote my book Hayden’s Bedtime – to help soothe children into feeling happy and safe at bedtime. Lucy didn’t feel happy or safe – after all, she was in a new house with strange humans.
Like most infants – Lucy the puppy, needed a routine. Though we didn’t read her a bedtime story, in only a few days she felt comfortable enough to sleep the whole night through. We fed her around 6 pm each night, let her have a play and if she got too excited, we would put her toys away and settle her on our lap. Lucy loves cuddles – when she’s in the mood. The first night or so she fell asleep on our lap, and then we progressed into putting her in her basket and patting her for a while and dimming the lights.
Don’t we wish children would respond to a routine so quickly and easily?
Here are three things to do to make bedtime easier
- Let your child choose the book/s they wish to read earlier in the day if possible. That way the routine is less likely to faulter. Sure, they could change their minds – just go with the flow. I know how mind-numbing it can be reading the same book over and over, but if it helps get them off to sleep, it’s worth it. Later on, you can take turns to pick a book/s for bedtime.
- Use a calming tone of voice from the beginning of the bedtime routine and during storytime. Still make the story exciting but keep the tone low and calming.
- Ensure that they have everything they need before you leave the room. I used to let my children look at a book for a while and say I would be back in a few minutes to turn out the light. This gives them a chance to explore the story independently once they are a bit older and not prone to tearing books.
Both young children and puppies need a positive, calm and consistent routine to help them settle better at night. And remember, it can take a while, so patience is key.
Article by Wendy Haynes
Follow Wendy at these links:
Websites: www.inprintpublishing.com.au | www.writingforkeeps.com.au
Facebook: @writingforkeeps | @wendyhaynesauthor | @inprintpublishing
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