It’s 8:00 in the evening and your child is wide awake, refusing to go to bed. You’ve tried everything – reading a story, singing a lullaby, even cuddling with them – but nothing has worked. Or, perhaps your child keeps getting out of bed for one last hug, one last drink, one more time on the potty! What can you do to stop with the bedtime battles? Here are some great tips for establishing a good bedtime routine that will help kids (and you) relax before bedtime!
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Why Bedtime Routines Are Important
Are bedtime routines important? Yes! A good bedtime routine can help kids relax and prepare for bed, which in turn will help them get a better night’s sleep. Kids who follow a bedtime routine not only fall asleep more easily, but also wake less often during the night and sleep longer. There are several other benefits of bedtime routines for your child as well.
How to Establish a Good Bedtime Routine
Establishing a good bedtime routine can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort. It will take consistency as well. Here are some tips for creating a bedtime routine that works for your family, adults and children alike.
- Establish simple rules and stick to them. For example, everyone in the house should be in bed by a certain time each night. Try to remain consistent.
- Start implementing the bedtime routine about 30 minutes before bedtime. This will give everyone enough time to wind down and fall asleep. This could include brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and a story or devotional.
- Keep the routine consistent from night to night. This will help especially the younger kids feel more relaxed and secure. Children thrive on routine and constistency. Now this isn’t to say you can never break the routine if you’re doing something special, but we are talking on a normal, day-to-day basis.
- Avoid watching TV or use electronic devices in the hour or so leading up to bedtime. The blue light emitted by these screens can disrupt sleep cycles. Mama, if you’re going to do some computer work after the kids are in bed, be sure to wear some blue light glasses.
- Make sure you all get plenty of exercise during the day; a tired child (or adult) is less likely to have trouble falling asleep at night.
Bedtime Routines for Toddlers
Toddlers can be especially difficult to get to bed at night, but with a little patience and creativity, you can establish a bedtime routine that works for them too. With toddlers, it’s especially important to keep the bedtime routine as simple as possible. Some popular toddler bedtime routines include:
– Singing a song or playing music before bed
– Cuddling with a favorite blanket, toy, stuffed animal
– The Favorite Toy: This routine involves putting away all of the child’s toys except for one favorite toy, which they get to keep with them in bed.
– The Bedtime Snack: This routine includes giving toddlers a snack or drink before bedtime. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend drinks during the potty training stage.
– The Big Brother/Sister Bedtime: This routine has older siblings help put the younger ones to bed.
– The Story Time: This routine involves reading bedtime stories before sleep.
Bedtime Routines for Kids
There are lots of different ways to create a bedtime routine for kids – it’s important to find one that works for your family. Here are a few popular bedtime routines:
– The Bathroom Break: This routine involves giving kids a bath, brushing their teeth, and putting on pajamas.
– The Snack Attack: This routine includes eating a light snack before bedtime.
– The Story Time: This routine involves reading stories or listening to bedtime stories before sleep.
-The Devotional Time: This routine incorporates Bible reading, study, or a Bible story before bed. What you do will depend on the ages of your children.
-The Snuggle: This routine involves taking the time to have a short snuggle with each child and asking them about their day or asking another thought-provoking question. The goal is one on one connection with your child.
You may choose to use one or more of these, but the main goal is to be consistent as well as firm. Don’t allow your child to get up 50 times to get a drink, go to the bathroom, or get one more hug. While learning a new routine, you may need to use a mix of rewards and/or discipline to encourage your child to stay in bed.
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Tips for Establishing a Good Bedtime Routine
Here are some other tips to keep in mind while you’re establishing your child’s bedtime routine:
- Keep it short and simple; the younger your child, the shorter and simpler the better. You can add more activities as they get older. Children also are more flexible as they get older.
- Offer a variety of activities before bed, such as reading, singing, talking, or playing quietly. This will avoid boredom and help kids relax.
- Make sure kids understand what will happen during their bedtime routines as you begin to establish one. If necessary, talk them through it several times in the day leading up to bedtime. Knowing what to expect will help them so much!
- Make sure everyone follows the same schedule each night – including pets! Kids should feel like everything is predictable when it comes to bedtime.
- Stick to the schedule as much as possible. This will help kids get in a good sleep pattern and become more comfortable with their routines, which makes ensuring they stay on track that much easier!
Children quickly adapt to any routine; if you establish a bedtime routine for them early on it won’t take long before they get used to it and fall into a peaceful sleep. Following the same schedule every night will help them feel secure and avoid bedtime battles. So try out one of these popular routines or come up with one that works best for your family – just make sure to be patient and consistent while you’re getting your child used to it!
If this is your first time trying to establish a bedtime routine, start by picking one or two activities from the list above and sticking to them for a week or two. Once your child gets comfortable with those, add in a couple more activities until you’ve built a full nightly routine. And don’t forget – have patience and be consistent while implementing any new routine; it may take a little bit of time but eventually, both you and your child will benefit from having a good night’s sleep!
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