As a parent, getting your kids to go sleep at night can be quite a challenge. Having a child that goes right to sleep at bedtime is like winning the lottery and probably about the same odds. As difficult as it can be it's still one of the most important things you can do for your child's well being and your own sanity.
Every child is different in their sleep habits but what's important is that sleep routines be developed and maintained. Once you find the routine that works for you follow it with as few exceptions as possible.
I found that the four "B's" worked well in our household for relaxing and sleep promoting activities. Bath, Brush teeth, Book, Bed. You may find other activities that work for your child but the key is to stick with the routine established.
Here are a few other tips that set the mood for a peaceful bedtime experience:
1. Create a soothing sleep environment. A cooler temperature is better for sleeping, a dark room with just a night-light and a cuddly reassuring toy.
2. No sugary snacks within 3 hours of bedtime. A light snack such as fruit, a glass of milk or crackers are fine and can even enhance sleep. Empty tummies don't sleep as well but neither do tummies that are to full.
3. Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime. All electronics are stimulating devices and promote wakefulness. Even the light they are emitting is a stimulant. (This is good advice for tired moms as well)
4. Include books in you story-time that are not concluded in one night. This gives kids something to look forward to for the next bedtime.
Of course, cuddles and kisses are a part of any bedtime routine and the best way to fall asleep.