The sounds of a busy, happy family are a delight. But in a bustling house, with varying schedules and needs, how do you create an environment that helps everyone get optimal sleep?
An early bedtime is important for kids (between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. works best for most), so at least 30 minutes before bed create a soothing, quiet atmosphere in the house. Put on soft music or even lullabies while you start your kids’ bath to signal wind-down time. Keep television out of your child’s room and try not to watch it in at least the hour before bedtime, as this can be stimulating. After bedtime, white noise helps block sounds from the adults who are still awake in the house, as well as neighborhood noises. White noise can be particularly helpful for soothing babies.
Parents also need a quiet environment to sleep, but with little children in the house—and the nightmares, requests for sips of water, or standard potty trips—this can be challenging. If you stir at the slightest peep from your kids, see if you can turn the baby monitor down (or off completely if they are nearby). You should be able to hear when your kids need you, but not hear all the normal noises they make while sleeping. If one parent’s work schedule requires her to sleep later, use white noise and earplugs to block sounds as the rest of the family starts the day.