Studies now show that everyone, not just kids, should turn off their screens well before they are to go to sleep. Some say an hour, some say 2 or 3 hours. Electronic devices – TVs, smartphones, tablets – emit a blue light that signals the brain that it is daytime. Screens can upset your circadian rhythm and your sleep-wake cycle is affected. Hints for getting a good night’s sleep all begin with “Turn off the electronics, or better yet, remove them from the bedroom.”
As children become more and more accustomed and adept at manipulating phones and tablets, handing a child your phone to play some games or a story or video on an iPad becomes increasingly normal. In fact, it may take time not only for children but their parents to really turn off the iPhone an hour before bed and switch to a printed book to read before going to sleep.
Tired parents after a long day are, well, tired. By the time dinner is finished and the dishes are in the dishwasher, most parents yearn for some quiet time during that post-dinner pre-bedtime hour or two. If screens are not a good option if you want your child to have a good night’s sleep, what can you do?
Modern Parents Messy Kids came up with some great before bedtime activities that foster independence and are screen-free that included puzzles, dolls, cars for younger children, and for older children reading, Rubik’s Cube type of challenges, legos, and perhaps weaving. They also highly recommend audiobooks.
How to make children feel less lonely when they are left to entertain themselves? Try putting on some music. Below is a short list of music that you might put on for your child during the quiet time before bed. It is a combination of restful and cheerful. Listen to these samples on Amazon to see what appeals to you as a parent.
Bach Cello Suites Nos. 1, 5 & 6
Bach Brandenburg Concertos
Handel’s Water Music
Debussy - Estampes, Images, Préludes
Debussy Clair de Lune
Debussy Petit Suite
Mozart String Quartets
Haydn Cello Concertos
Satie 3 Gymnopédies
If you would like to some quiet, no work for you, time with your kids, try listening to the Maestro Classics’ Stories in Music series together. Children love stories and music, and parents and older children will enjoy the composer biographies and friendly talks about music by the conductor. Not sure where to begin? Start with the listening guide.