The Importance of Early Training

Children who are not taught good manners from an early age have a very distinct social disadvantage. When sending your child to early kinder or preschool you will, as a parent, be more confident that, along with their healthy lunch, they will also be taking with them their learnt social etiquette and politeness.  

Good manners and good behaviour can be taught as young as two years, even though they may not fully understand, but it helps them to be more appreciative and aware of others and that their feelings are as important as their own.

Good manners develop into good habits that are an integral part of good behaviour.

Teaching Good Manners to young children is based on valuing others’ feelings and sensitivities while it demonstrates thoughtfulness and respect towards them. These children grow into good, well-mannered teenagers and adults.

Politeness is an expected social etiquette that should be taught at a very early age. However, it is never too late to learn good manners and politeness.  By teaching children manners early in life, politeness becomes a natural part of their everyday behaviour and speech.

Introduce polite words such as PLEASE and THANK YOU from an early age. This helps to develop an attitude of gratitude.  Even though children don’t understand these terms at first, they are practising using them.  Introduce other phrases later, such as “May I?”, “No, thank you” and “Excuse Me” to further develop good child behaviour.


GOOD MANNERS are an integral part of a child’s social behaviour development.  Learning good manners is essential to a child’s overall development and ensures that you will be raising happy children.

Good manners demonstrate respect for another individual. They help a child realise that other people’s thoughts and opinions should be listened to and their self-worth respected. Demonstrating politeness, thoughtfulness and respect develops a true sensitivity towards those with whom they come in contact, and others will respect them in return.



Basic table manners are essential along with social etiquette and good manners in today’s society and need to be taught and practised from a very early age, to become natural when socialising out with friends and family.

Children need to be taught not only good manners but table manners as well. They should be taught how to hold their spoon and fork and when chewing food, to keep their mouth closed until finished. Having good manners and good table etiquette is not talking while eating but waiting until their mouth is empty.  It’s also bad manners to put more food into their mouth when they haven’t chewed all of the previous mouth full.  Good manners is not talking whilst eating but to wait until they have finished chewing.  

Children need frequent reminders and practice at table manners.

Parents raising children need to put time and effort into teaching politeness.  Polite children with good manners are a pleasure to take out to a dinner or restaurant. When children are well mannered with good social etiquette, along with table manners, taking children to social events and activities can be much more enjoyable.  

They should make a point of teaching them table etiquette and manners so that they feel confident that their children will display good table manners and proper table etiquette when dining out… and it becomes more of an enjoyable outing for everyone.


1  Setting an example

We, so often as a society, judge people by their social behaviour and this influences people’s perceptions towards them.  Polite children with good manners exemplify good upbringing where consideration for other people and their feelings is paramount. 

Parents need to lead by example when teaching good table manners. Teaching children every day, through parents mirroring good manners themselves, demonstrates respect and sensitivity for each others’ feelings.  A respectful child will develop naturally into a well-mannered individual.  

Mirroring good manners with your children and their friends develops politeness and good behaviour.

2  Correcting your child in public

When you are out in public places with your children, it’s always good to acknowledge other friends’ children and have conversations with them. This helps them to feel included. It demonstrates politeness to your children and that they too should show politeness towards them also, and can reduce any issues of craving attention or acting up.

When they are playing with other children they will then know its important to always be polite and show they have good manners.

Correcting a child appropriately when out

Correcting your child in public in front of others should always done sensitively and having careful regard for your child’s feelings. However, it is best to do so out of earshot of others, if possible.  Never make an example of your child, but give careful consideration to the situation, your child’s feelings and to not drawing attention to the situation.

Move your child to a more private area if possible and fully explain quietly your corrections. Always speak to your child at their level, maintain eye contact, using words that they can understand.  Always ask for their acknowledgement that they understand that good behaviour is expected.  Speaking firmly but quietly often dispels any behavioural issues in children when in public.

3  Good communication

The conversation should only take a minute or two. Always remember it’s the child’s bad behaviour that you are addressing and that needs to change… not them.  Make a point of telling them that you love them very much and that good behaviour is expected.

4  Guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways

Communicating to your children in this way acknowledges that they are respected, valued and loved. Children will have a better understanding of how you expect them to behave more sensibly, and that they should endeavour to take on board and know what is expected of them in the future. This is guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways.  

Politeness and demonstrating good behaviour is a skill that children need to learn from an early age.

Children need to learn to take responsibility for inappropriate bad manners. When children understand what’s expected of them, they develop their own sense of responsibility for themselves as they recognise and understand bad behaviour in themselves. Bad behaviour often comes from their frustrations, but they fail to ask for assistance.

Parents and guardians need to demonstrate and teach by example.  Avoid raising your voice as this creates tension. Children need to know that their frustrations can be overcome by expressing problems to an adult if they are finding it difficult to e.g. play a board game… and that asking for help overcomes bad behaviour very quickly.  When children learn to express their feelings and frustrations through asking for help, they take a giant leap towards becoming a person, not only with good manners, but that other people will want to be around.

Children will recognise how exhibiting good manners and good behaviour solves frustrations very quickly.

5  Deal with Interruptions

If your child interrupts you while having a conversation, quietly point out to them that it is bad manners to interrupt but you will attend to their needs when it’s appropriate.  This helps them feel noticed and recognised, but they will learn that that interrupting is not ok. It teaches them that politeness is not only having good manners, but is also being patient and waiting.

It very important that parents make sure that they follow through on their promise and don’t take too long in attending to the child as soon as they are finished.  This shows respect for the child… that they too are important.

6  Setting the Example

Developing good manners in children takes time, effort, consistency and showing by example. Practise good manners at home, always teach by example. Children will follow your consistent lead. Children need to know that good behaviour and good manners start at home and they are taken with them when they go out. If the rules are consistently applied, children learn very quickly and behavioural problems in children subside.

7  Gentle Reminders

Manners are not automatically learnt. Children need constant encouragement and direction when learning how to display manners.  Children need gentle reminders and explanations as to when and where to use these newly learnt manners and politeness.

Acquiring these newly learnt good manners takes lots of encouragement, reinforcement and practice as well as discouraging any bad manners or inappropriate table etiquette that may arise.  Consistent follow through by both parents or caregivers ensures no confusion for children.  

Learning good manners takes time and plenty of patience and reinforcement as politeness is a learnt skill and adds to their lifelong education.


Good manners start at home by parents modelling good behaviour.  Apart from setting a good example to your children, realise that you are a role model for them and you can also be their coach.

Remember that they are watching and learning from you every day. They will inevitably emulate your good behaviour, both at home, on the road and in public.  Politeness and good manners need to be demonstrated in all circumstances and will stand them in good stead for the future because having good manners is an asset.


Children respond to positive encouragement, therefore look for different ways to encourage and build them up for their good efforts.  Parents can often too quickly criticise their children for unacceptable bad behaviour, but are slow to react to good behaviour when it is warranted.  Practise encouraging children for their good manners and politeness because it reinforces good child behaviour and this builds their self-esteem.


Reward children for their good behaviour.  Praising children helps them to feel proud about themselves and valued.  Their personal feelings are given a huge boost.  Praise always creates a positive attitude.  Children will respond more easily when genuine encouragement and praise is given freely.  Praise builds confidence and self-esteem.  

At every opportunity, praise them for their good manners and good behaviour.



All of these words demonstrate respect for another.

Politeness phrases…






“MAY I?”

These words and phrases don’t come naturally, and children must be trained to see things from the perspective of the other person.  


Well-mannered children also need to demonstrate Social Manners

Social Manners children need to learn…


Guide children’s behaviour in positive ways

Teaching the importance of sharing is guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways.  When children are sharing their toys and activities with others, this demonstrates kindness and thoughtfulness toward other children or adults.  It displays respect, good manners and politeness.

Sharing with others is often one of the hardest things for children to deal with, especially if another child has damaged or is likely to damage their things.  However, sharing displays politeness, respect and good behaviour.


Supporting and managing children’s behaviour can be difficult at times.  It may be difficult for children to recognise that their actions or words maybe disrespectful, rude.  However guiding children’s behaviour in positive ways is understanding that being sorry is important.  Children need to accept and recognise that their bad manners, lack of politeness or table etiquette will not be tolerated.


It’s a principle that even adults forget. Children learning politeness and good manners means learning to wait in line or wait for their turn when playing a game.  It means not interrupting when others are talking or when you’re on the phone. It’s important for parents to help their children to grasp these very important concepts and parents need to always lead by example.  Politeness and good manners are not difficult, it just needs to be taught from an early age.

Behavioural issues in children and bad behaviour can be dealt with fairly quickly if parents, guardians or teachers recognise the signs of frustration, anger or naughtiness when it first appears.  With gentle sensitivity, immediate explanation and understanding of their inner frustrations, bad behaviour can quickly revert to good behaviour and politeness in a few days or overnight.

It’s never too late to teach and encourage children to always to have good manners and demonstrate politeness.  


Read more about raising happy children


integrity, define integrity

As parents, we need to instil in our children particular traits that are essential for them to adopt and to learn to master early in life. 

This will assist them as they grow and continue to develop into responsible adults and become self-reliant, responsible and well-adjusted people.  These traits need to be inculcated from a very early age.


The main traits are..

  1. Resilience – the ability to bounce back after setbacks.
  2. Assertiveness – to take on challenges and resist intimidation
  3. Honesty and integrity – essential in all situations
  4. Confidence – for maintaining happiness
  5. Self-esteem – to build character
  6. Creativeness – to develop their own talents, gifts, ideas and abilities
  7. General social behaviours – good manners, eating etiquette, talking etc

1 Resilience

Teaching resilience is essential when raising children so that they can bounce back from situations where they may otherwise feel challenged or overwhelmed.  

Good strong parental guidance leads by example, showing and explaining how to cope when faced with difficult or challenging situations, dealing with friendships, or falling short of their expectations about school exams, sporting results and the many other challenges that children face.  

The young child, as well as the teenager, needs to be guided and encouraged through difficult times

Children need to learn that by solving problems and keeping everything in perspective, challenges can be overcome.  Problems can be faced head-on and solutions can be found.  

The young child, as well as the teenager, needs to be guided and encouraged through difficult times, in order to learn that, by analysing a situation and solving problems, with resilience, difficulties can be overcome and that there is always a way.

2 Assertiveness

When children become more confident, assertiveness will follow.  Assertiveness is a by-product of confidence. As children grow and develop and experience new challenges or different situations in life, they are less likely to shy away from new difficulties they face and be more likely to speak up and ask for help.

This helps them to feel more capable and builds assertiveness.  Children need to understand that we all make mistakes when learning a new sport or playing a musical instrument. The most important thing is having a go… participating and understanding that learning new skills can take time.  

Learning New Skills can take time

Parents need to encourage, not step in and take over, or over-react.  Children are watching and learning from adults all the time and sensitive children will not want to participate if they sense a negative response.

Affirmative words and actions and reactions from their parents will reinforce positive assertiveness building skills.

Parents need to be very careful using comparisons between themselves and/or other siblings as this will create feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. They may lead to a fear of rejection and put doubt in their minds, making them feel not capable or that others rights are more important than theirs.

It’s important to build assertiveness in children so their confidence and self-esteem levels will grow and develop. This helps them feel valued, loved and heard. Children being assertive encourages good positive communication between parents and children. Kids will feel free to speak up when they feel something is wrong, or they may feel uneasy about something.  They will feel that they have a right to express an opinion when appropriate, knowing they will be listened to.

3 Honesty and Integrity.

Honesty and integrity are integral to a child’s early development and should be learnt from a very early age.  When children are playing games or sharing with others, this is when parents can explain clearly about not cheating and being fair with each other, playing by the rules, not the ones made-up on the spot to suit. This develops integrity and demonstrates the importance of sharing.

Fairness and honesty can be taught while playing board games

Children will in turn expect their siblings, other children, and adults also to behave with the same integrity and honesty.  Integrity and honesty goes to the heart of proper family values, how parents behave and expect their children to behave, and that everyone can be trusted.

If parents (and children) demonstrate honesty in daily life, and if it is reinforced and rewarded, this helps children to transition into the teenage years, knowing that honesty and integrity is a normal part of their everyday life. This will go a long way in helping them to become well-rounded adults.

4 Confidence

Develop Confidence and Self-Esteem in your child.

Parents will not always be around to assist a child when difficulties arise, but if you know how to build confidence in your children, you will be gently using encouraging words and affirmations.  Kids’ confidence will thus grow in small steps as adversities arise.

Growing confidence is inevitable and children will be able to stand on their own two feet and be proud of their achievements. These are very important lessons to learn in life, as facing up to challenges builds self-esteem and confidence.

5. Self esteem

Building self-esteem in children is vital and is closely linked to their behaviour and to their overall happiness in life.  Children need confidence for their everyday wellbeing, and resilience.  Self-esteem building activities for kids are a great way of knowing how to teach self confidence in children.

Children need confidence for their everyday wellbeing

The ability to bounce back and face challenges enables children to feel accepted and fit in with others.  When children are able to be confident, their self-esteem is heightened. Children need lots of praise, when it is due, and strict discipline when their behaviour is unacceptable.  The issue should be dealt with promptly, quietly and fairly. 

Confidence comes when they are encouraged and praised appropriately without excess. Parents need to teach children how to behave correctly when difficulties arise and not crush a child’s feelings when things go wrong.  

Confidence and self-esteem come from within, when a child feels they have mastered something themselves, perhaps a difficult or new challenge that may take some time to overcome. 

Your children’s confidence and self-esteem levels will grow with every new difficulty.

6 Creativity

All children are born with creative ability and when given the opportunities to develop their creative talents, they learn to explore new possibilities. Their brain forms new pathways, heightening their cognitive ability to try new things and overcome new challenges.  Creativity develops imagination and this can be expressed through creative writing, music, dance, theatre, plays and the arts.

Visiting museums and exploring art galleries, appreciating and discussing with others as to what they see and how they feel, is essential to opening up a child’s mind to explore different avenues that they may develop an interest in.

Whilst many screen-based activities can be creative, parents need to allow their children to experience a variety of sporting activities to develop and strengthen hand-eye coordination, ball-handling skills, along with balance and muscle strength. This in turn leads to close friendships through collaboration between team members, developing strategies and helps them to consolidate their opinions, strengths, and values.

Playing games involves developing creative strategies

Children are happier when they are engaged in creative activities that bring them pleasure.

This develops new thought processes and cognitive thinking ability, expanding their knowledge as they engage in new creative skills.

7 Good Manners and Social Behaviours.

Good manners are one of the fundamental behaviours that parents need to teach their children, to fit into society.  Without proper basic manners, children will struggle and find that others will not approve of their behaviour.

Table etiquette, politeness, queuing in line, eating your food, playing with others and knowing how to behave when playing on the children’s playground equipment, or eating out at a restaurant and many more, all require parental guidance, practice and the setting of good examples. When raising children, these common essential behaviours need consistent encouragement and reminders to reinforce and to eventually become a natural characteristic of every child.

Read more about Raising Happy Children

Developing balance and muscle strength

Teaching Your Children Cooking

children cooking

Kids love to cook, and teaching them to cook from an early age introduces them to a variety of different foods so they develop a greater appreciation of taste, feel, size, and smell when preparing fresh food and when enjoying the results of their efforts.  Kids are more likely to eat what they have cooked themselves and are more willing to try a wider variety of foods.

children cooking

The best way to teach kids how to cook and encourage their love of good food is to let them help in the kitchen from an early age.  Children will have a better understanding of food and how it’s prepared.  You never know, by getting junior cooking early, your child may become a kid chef in the family.  Also, allowing kids in the kitchen expands their language skills around words such as simmer, sauté and blend.  If you are teaching a child baking, they will need to learn safety and the very important aspect of hygiene.  

Teaching children cooking empowers them with better knowledge of where their food comes from, which foods come fresh and why some foods need to be stored in a fridge.  Getting children cooking helps them understand which foods come in tins, bottles, in a spice jar and what foods are bought fresh.

A simple meal that’s an easy dinner for kids to cook may become a regular routine, eating food kids can make.  And keeping junior cooking will develop his skills for the long term. One recipe that would characterize easy cooking for kids, as well as being snacks kids can make, would be kids cookie biscuits that could well become a favorite.


Some parents don’t allow their kids in the kitchen, however there are several ways to teach your child baking.  It’s even possible to teach baking for toddlers to learn to make simple meals.  If you play at cooking with toddlers, you never know, your child may quickly develop into a kid chef.  Cooking with pre-schoolers can be fun and they are sure to learn some basics as they watch you in the kitchen.

You can allow older kids in the kitchen to participate when you are cooking, while making an easy dinner for kids to eat (or a quick healthy kids dinner).  This shows them how delicious, healthy, quick and easy kids’ meals can be made.

As an educational program, many schools have kitchen gardens, so kids can learn about cooking using the herbs and spices fresh from the school garden.  If the school also has a cooking program, teachers can explain the benefits of certain foods as the children are involved in choosing the plants to use in cooking.

Vegetable Garden

Cooking encourages children to eat healthy meals as well as experiment while being creative.

Cooking Class



You may wonder what would be an easy dinner for kids to learn to cook or what would be the best cookbook for kids to use to learn how to cook.   It may not even be necessary to use a cookbook for kids to follow, as they may be able to learn to follow simple recipes that you may already know.  Kids love to cook. It’s simply a matter of finding food kids can make.

How are you going to get junior cooking?  Why not start with a simple breakfast kids can make.  Your kids cook real food, even if they are simply boiling an egg.  

Further down the track, you may let your kids cook dinner.  But before that, there are many simple lunches kids can make.  There are even some recipes kids can make on their own.  If you decide to teach your children cooking, they will have a skill for life.

When kids cook real food in the kitchen, they will no doubt like their food better, but will also understand where food comes from and how its prepared.  Getting children cooking may even help them to develop their own recipes kids can make on their own.  Simple things kids can cook are kids’ cookie recipes. (Why not teach your kids cookie baking).

Kids love to cook but first they need guidance and proper safety instructions, before starting.

They will need to…

  • Wash hands properly before preparing the kitchen space ready for cooking.
  • Find the stool for standing on, putting on the all-important apron.
  • Tie their hair back.
  • Find the correct mixing bowl, tray for oven baking, oven safety gloves, spoon for mixing, kids cookie cutter… all before starting.  
  • Start collecting all the basic ingredients for things kids can cook.  
  • Measure the correct cup quantities of flour, butter, eggs, sugar, sultanas and cornflakes.

Children cooking need to have clean hands, a clean bench top for preparing easy food kids can make and always clean up hands and the kitchen when child baking is finished.

With the increased interest (these days) in eating healthy foods, there are more kids in the kitchen cooking than in previous generations.  Kids are coming up with their very own family recipes while taking on more responsibilities in the kitchen. Some of these kids can be encouraged to develop their own children’s cookbooks with many recipes that are easy cooking for kids to tackle, plus an easy dinner for kids to follow and understand.

Many children find that cooking develops more responsibility which in turn DEVELOPS THEIR SELF-ESTEEM.  With more kids in the kitchen, new skills are being learnt, new responsibilities are being taken on, as they are also developing their own creative new skills such as cutting, mixing, weighing and cooking different foods.

All kids love to cook, they just need guidance and proper safety instructions before starting.


Safety in the kitchen is paramount when anyone is cooking… especially when using sharp knives, hot water and steam from cooking vegetables, ovens and other equipment. It is always recommended that every kitchen have a Fire Safety Blanket.

So, children cooking always need supervision. Kids need guidelines and rules about which pots, pans and utensils they can use.



Food safety guidelines for children cooking

1 Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water

2 Tie hair back, perhaps wear a cap, apron and gloves

3 Food surface cleanliness, for food preparation

4 Teach knife safety and utensils and which ones to use

5 Separation of raw meat poultry, seafood with fresh food

7 Teach cooking equipment, oven and utensil safety

Tip: Remind children cooking to wait until food is cooked before sampling.

With children cooking, they will soon develop a love of food and better appreciate the effort involved in the preparation of a delicious meal.  And remember, make it fun.  Take lots of pictures and create memories for you and your children to cherish!

So what are things that kids can cook?  Quick and healthy kids’ dinner recipes are a great place to start.

Here are some ideas for Easy Meals Kids Can Make

If you would like to learn from Jamie Oliver cooking with kids, click here…

Read more about Fun Activities for Kids

Image of fun activity

Home Schooling

easy peasy homeschool

Home Schooling

The Challenge for Parents and Children

Due to the Covid-19 Virus, home schooling has been thrust upon many parents and teachers for the first time and this can be very challenging for many.  Often, space in the home becomes a premium, along with quiet places to think clearly without disruption or distraction.

home schooling

When both parents are also working from home and also have work requirements… zoom calls plus important emails, reports and deadlines to attend to, dealing with young children or teenagers can all become very challenging.

Teachers at school are also finding their feet when preparing home-school schedules and sending out multiple home-school transcripts across their varying student classes.

Learning from home also creates challenges for children in staying connected with their friends, as well as learning and developing socially.  For some children, distant learning creates feelings of isolation, not being able to have the usual fun and sport activities that they would have when playing with their friends at school.  However, home schooling or remote learning can constitute creative and fun learning experiences for children as they may well pursue new interests and overcome challenges when faced with home-schooling requirements.

Learning from home will no doubt enable them to develop initiative, be creative and be more responsible.  Home-schooled kids often develop and take on more responsibilities around the home.  These new skills might be growing some vegetables at home, helping in the kitchen or perhaps creating fun projects for themselves and other members of the family or their friends on line.

homeschool curriculum



Children learn best with structure, routine and clear guidelines about what is expected of them.  This helps builds confidence and feelings of security, which avoids uncertainty and makes for fewer upsets.

1 Create a warm and pleasant atmosphere

2 Be your child’s coach, with lots of encouragement

3 Focus on effort, with words of affirmation

4 Build confidence

5 Be gentle and allow feelings to be expressed

6 Allow for the challenging moments

7 Focus on the positives and building relationships

all in one homeschool


Whether you have young children, teenagers or uni students at home… whatever age, home-schooling can take time to adjust to.  When distant learning, everyone needs a routine to follow, to keep in the swing of things.

Therefore, it’s best to create a family routine.  The result will be …

better concentration,

less chance of distraction,

developing better learning abilities,

a positive impact on your child’s education.

Children can more easily study from home with a simple home-school routine. Keep the same routine.  Get up at the same time each day.  Get the kids up and dressed.

At the time that school would normally start, ensure that the kids get their books out or computers at the kitchen table or the study desks.

Tip.. Set firm limits but don’t be too strict.  Eg “You can’t use your iPad until your work is done”.


simply homeschool

1 Establish good habits

2 Organise your desk, books, computer etc

3 Get up at the same time each day

4 Always get dressed

5 Be ready to start the school home program

6 Schools have been preparing materials around the curriculum, so follow their guide.   Create a chart for what is expected from school

7 Establish regular breaks with the usual snacks and drinks

8 Allow regular play and free time activities. Children work best in the mornings…  concentration levels wane towards the afternoon

9 Discuss schoolwork and how it fits into everyday life.  Children love helping and being involved and learning practical skills.  For small children, it might be a practical maths lesson… “2 eggs plus 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup of dates, 1/2 cup melted butter, 2 cups of crushed biscuits = how many cups?”   Cook and eat the yummy result.

10 Keep the same routine for each day around the school learning time. This will be easier for children, when they go back to formal classes at school, to more easily slot back into the school timetable.

11 Set firm limits, but allow lots of fun activities, relaxation and family time.

12 Be prepared to make some sacrifices but more importantly, build family relationships and have lots of fun.

learning from home

It’s very important that children continue with their education, even though learning from home may be challenging for everyone.  Parents may be required to assist their children when following the home-school curriculum program.  However they are not expected to become a home-school teacher, but merely to guide and encourage their children as they follow the home-school schedules.

Read more about Child Education


Baby to sleep

The Bedtime Challenge

Bedtime is a very important part of each day’s routine but getting the child to sleep can be frustrating for both child and parent.  Many parents regularly dread it when it’s time to put their children to bed… the struggle it can be, and it can be very confronting when being challenged by your beautiful, adorable young child who seems to object vociferously as soon as you mention the words “it’s time for bed”, no matter how tired they might be. When a child is overtired, or sleep deprived in any way, it can be very challenging for both parent and child.

The bedroom should be a positive, happy place where children love to be, a room that’s welcoming, restful and somewhere to sleep peacefully but bedtime can be a very frustrating time for many parents, as both parents and children can all be tired.  However, there are solutions to this commonly asked question… “How do I get a baby to sleep”?

To solve this common parental dilemma, we need to take a closer look at a few different aspects regarding what should happen prior to bedtime.  One of the main aspects of preparing a child for bed is your language and your tone of voice.    

Seven tips for preparing your child for bed…

Getting your child to sleep

TIP 1 The Room

A child’s bedroom should be an environment that is a warm, positive, safe place.  It needs to be inviting… where children can enjoy playing, reading or just relaxing and where they can fall asleep happily each day.

It should never be used in a negative way as a place for them to be sent to because they were rude, naughty or being punished for something.  If a child misbehaves, their bedroom is definitely not a place to be sent to.  

Tip. 2 Your Tone of Voice

A parent’s language and tone of voice around every phrase should always send positive messages, especially before the bedtime routine.

If a child is sent to their bedroom by their parent using words such as “Go to bed now” or “There are no stories tonight” or “You’re going straight to bed”, in a negative, angry tone of voice, these phrases send strong negative messages to a child around the process of going to bed, their bedroom and themselves.

Negative phrases send conflicting messages and only make a child feel confused and unhappy, especially at the end of their day when it should be a happy time of closeness and good feelings about themselves.  It can cause a lot of harm to a child’s overall self-esteem and a child’s health and wellbeing.

TIP 3. Allow Time

Don’t over-schedule your day, as children can become over-tired.  Super-busy, stressful days, packed with after-school activities can create havoc with babies, and young children. When parents are over-tired and stressed, this can lead to rushed bedtime routines and cause a child’s regular sleep pattern to be out of kilter.

TIP. 4 Have a Routine

Children love routine.  Establish a regular wind-down routine.  Children start to wind down in late afternoons as usually the day has been full of play time.  Their bodies are slowing and they can get irritable quickly.  They may not process information as easily, and life gets out of balance.

Slow-down routines such as enjoying reading books, watching limited screen time, or helping in the kitchen, help establish a child’s wind-down time as an enjoyable time of the day… for both child and parent.

TIP 5 Plan Ahead

Organise the evening meal to be eaten early, say around 5pm.  This takes forward planning. Children love to assist, helping in the preparations, if old enough.  Children are much more likely to eat food that they have helped prepare.  The evening meal should be a time when, as a family, you talk about what’s happened over the school day etc and it’s a great time to reflect on and discuss any issues that your children may be concerned about.  Children will open up on what’s bothering them if they feel valued and listened too.

Tip. 6 Have a Check List

Establish a BEDTIME ROUTINE CHART for after the evening meal… Children love routines, they look forward to it and it helps make them feel secure.

Give adequate warning time that the impending bedtime routine is approaching.  The wind-down time is needed to precede the bedtime routine so that children will cooperate and have enough time to put their activities away.  This might be 5-10 mins.  Wind-down time allows children to wind down from the activities of the day, as it’s important for them to transition the brain into their sleep-time mode.  It helps prepare the mind and body for sleep.

Headings for the Bedtime Chart…

Bath, Pyjamas, Teeth, Story Book Time, Potty or Night Diaper, Lights out or a soft night light, Singing songs, Hugs and Kisses

Tip. 7 The Surroundings

The room should be quiet and one that promotes relaxation.  The sleeping environment needs to be completely dark to promote deep sleep for a child to feel rested.  Darkened or block-out shades or blinds enable good sleep.  The ideal sleeping room temperature should be around 18 – 21 degrees Celsius or 65 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep for a baby, toddler or child.  Soft music can aid sleep, but for 5 – 10 mins only.  Children need to drift off to sleep by themselves, preferably without the aid of soft music or white noise. Children need to be able to sleep hearing the general running household noises.  Otherwise it can create a very light sleeper, lead to insomnia or difficulties in the future in not being able to get a deep sleep or have a proper sleep cycle.

It’s important that parents, during bedtime winddown times, use quiet, more soft tones of voice.  This allows little ones’ minds and bodies to settle quietly, giving them a feeling of being loved and cared for.

Read the personal story of one parent’s experience in successfully establishing a bedtime routine