How can we prepare kids for a good night’s sleep?
In day to day life it’s important that parents are sensitive to their children’s needs, giving them space and time for them to share any troubles or anxiety they may be feeling. Acting mindfully involves parents thinking in the present, and being fully available to their children at the point that they need them the most. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to fix their problems, it could just mean listening to them and letting them talk. Being heard may be all they need to feel that a weight has been lifted from their shoulders, which will in turn help them sleep.
We should also give them time to wind down in the evenings. By reducing things that stimulate them - whether that means turning off the TV or laptop, stopping games, dimming bright lights, or reducing food intake and energetic activity - being stringent about wind down time will help them relax before bedtime and we need to do this for ourselves too.
How should we deal with ‘accidents’ in the middle of the night in the best way for everyone? Three point plan?
Being 'OK' with bed wetting and making sure we don’t overreact or appear stressed if your child wets the bed can help them to see that it’s not their fault, and that bedwetting is perfectly normal.
We can also take practical measures to make it less stressful for everyone. Things like encouraging a regular bedtime routine whereby children get themselves dressed for bed builds confidence and allows them to take ownership of this time. It’s a good idea to keep a pair of DryNites pyjama pants next to your child’s pyjamas to help normalise the bedwetting phase. Children will become dry at night in their own time but until then DryNites can help limit disruption to their sleep and yours.
If your child wakes up in the night, it’s important to first check in with your own emotions so that you can tend to their needs calmly. I’m a firm believer of the three point plan. Parents should:
1. Check in with how they feel in the first instance
2. Come up with a plan to manage their own emotions as this will help to deal with a waking child
3. Help your child calmly and confidently, helping them regain a sense of comfort by behaving with a true spirit of kindness and compassion.
Parents should also set boundaries for their children so that they can help themselves where possible. This gives children the confidence to be independent too.
How can we fit mindfulness into our everyday routine?
Being 'mindful' isn't something that can always be switched on unless it has been practiced first, and it typically it takes eight weeks to re-wire our brains to be more mindful*.
That said, a great first step to acting mindfully involves spending time being aware of how you breathe, noticing and accepting your emotions whatever they are, and crucially being kinder to yourself and being open to the idea that you are doing the best you can.
Parenting is unpredictable and what worked for one child, may not help another so being mindful is about thinking in the now and seeing the current situation for what is without thinking about past experiences or future expectations.
What would you say to people who think mindfulness is a load of cobblers?
It is a leap of faith and takes practice, but is well worth the effort. Parents and carers who take the time in their busy lives to learn this skill can move forward to a place where they can truly enjoy the experience and ride out the challenges. By accepting that parenting is difficult and living in the moment through all your children’s ups and downs, you can really deepen your relationships.
How can we encourage our children to be mindful?
Children are naturally mindful in that they live 'in the moment'. When parents are willing to be open to being imperfect, it gives children the confidence that that’s okay too. Children naturally mirror their parent’s behaviour, so if situations are handled calmly and confidently, they will be more likely to act in the same way.
Read all of the 'stop bedwetting' top tips from the experts:
Visit www.drynites.co.uk to find out more about the ConfidentNites® Guide for helpful advice on bedwetting from DryNites®.
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