Sleep is such a simple yet complicated part of our life experience.
Think for a moment about all the amazing things your body does while you sleep! From locking down memories to repairing damaged DNA, we are doing a lot when we are in dreamland. Fortunately, we don't have to think about doing these things - we do them automatically - but often we have to figure out how to fall asleep, stay asleep, and, if we wake up prematurely, go back to sleep so we can let our bodies do all the amazing things it does.
We've talked (in the past few days' posts) about bedtime routines and the importance of pacing and environmental factors to help bedtime routines go smoothly, but what I didn't mention - perhaps because it's biting off a rather big task - is the purpose of soothing bedtime routines: to fall gently off to sleep without feeling restless so you can wake up feeling refreshed.
When you think of your children's sleep, do you find that they are able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of "lights off"? Are they waking up looking and feeling refreshed? If not, you may want to begin by looking at their bedtime routines in a more focused way.
Children who are well rested are more able to "regulate" their attentions, emotions, moods and behaviours. The same is also true for their parents!