Bedtime can be tricky – you know the kids need entertaining and activity until sleep time, but you don’t want them to get too excited or become overtired and refuse to call it a day. Try these fun and clever ideas that are the perfect transition from daytime to sweet-dream time, and to get them excited to say “good night”.
Go through story books or a family album, and ask your child to spot certain items or people. For example, say “Spot the yellow bunny”, or “Find the picture of Daddy wearing a hat and smiling”.
Hide and seek
In order to make a “game” of getting ready for bed, hide all your child’s bedtime stuff (e.g. pyjamas, toothbrush, toothpaste, reading book, and soft toys/dolls). As soon as he finds each one, he’ll need to act on it, e.g. dress in his pyjamas, brush his teeth, and put his soft toy animal “to bed”. Before he’s even aware of it, he’ll be ready for bed!
Before bed, you can get some fresh air and a little activity without overtiring or over-stimulating Baby.
Get torches, switch off the outdoor lights, and go for a little garden walk while looking out for insects and listening to night sounds. End off by saying goodnight to all the creatures outdoors, e.g. owls, crickets and bats.
Create an “event” of picking up toys at the end of the day by announcing a scavenger hunt. You can give your child a hat, torch and bag, and announce what he needs to look for, e.g. books or blocks. Once he’s found them, he’ll need to put them in the correct place – with your help, if necessary. At the end, you can provide a “reward” such as a sticker or an extra bedtime story.
Use your fingers – or puppets if you like – to create a little show or story for your child. You could even “project” it onto the ceiling with the lights off and using a torch to create a shadow. Make up a story or use a popular fairytale. As you tell the story, move your fingers or the puppets around, and create different voices for each character. Here’s an example: Re-enact something from the day, or make up something completely different. Tailor your stories to your child’s needs, making them silly and playful, or comforting and nurturing. Your child can even create his own little characters.
Each night, ask your child to think of as many words as possible using each letter of the alphabet. Each night, build up more anticipation as you work through the alphabet.
Keep a drawing pad or scrapbook with some crayons or pencils by your child’s bed, and ask him to draw about his day, or sweet dreams he’d like to have, or what he’s looking forward to the next day. You can also keep a journal for him, jotting down what he says, or it could be a gratitude diary, where each night he lists five things he’s grateful for.
Ask your child to pretend he’s a newsreader on TV, and ask him fora full report of the news for the day.
It could be funny or serious, and you could give a news report too.
Choose something in your child’s room, and have him guess what object you’ve picked. Give him clues, e.g. the shape, colour, and what it’s used for.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.