Bedtime routines are extremely important. Nighttime can be a hectic time for any family but bedtime routines for kids are an essential part of the growing up process. Patterns can make or break a child’s sleeping success so it’s important that parents put some in place.
To start with, parents should look to their children to get involved with decision-making. This step is often overlooked but vitally important. Children will be more likely to stick to the bedtime routine if they help create it. Maybe your child has a favorite book or television show, encourage them to include that in the bedtime routine so that the activities they value are included along with essentials like washing up. Do your children have any sports or activities that run late? Remember to include them so there are no surprises & no exceptions in your bedtime routine.
Once you and your children come up with a suitable bedtime routine be sure to document it. It can be as simple as a list written on a piece of notebook paper or a full-scale poster board with elaborate designs. One suggestion is to make a chart. Allow your child to decorate it with different colored markers or glitter. Allow space so that each day or week your child can mark off each bedtime task he or she has ﬁnished. This can be a huge incentive for children who are visual learners. For those with more than one child, another suggestion is to turn it into a game, who can come up with the coolest bedtime routine chart? Sit back and watch as your children explore their creativity. Then give them each a small reward just for being creative.
Start by planning an hour ahead. Wind down time is essential in bedtime routines for kids. Give timed warning 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 10 minutes until it’s time to start. You don’t want to drag this process out, but a little prep time goes a long way especially with more rambunctious children. Be prepared. You don’t want to give your children any excuse to skip their bedtime routines.
Be firm but not unreasonable. Your family’s first few nights may be hectic but remember that patience is a virtue. Work with your children for however long it takes to get their bedtime routines down.
There is really no right or wrong bedtime routine. Every family and every child is different. So whether your routine is to shower, wash up, and bedtime story or wash up, bedtime story, and light snack, remember to find the routine that works best for your child and stick with it. Your own sleep and sanity will thank you.