Establishing a Bedtime Routine


Sleep is important for all of us.  For children, lack of sleep can cause several problems including behavior issues and difficulty maintaining attention to tasks. In order to make sure that your child is getting enough sleep, establishing a bedtime routine could be the answer.  A sample routine could include:

  1. Have a Snack – By having a snack before bed, this eliminates the child waking up saying they’re “hungry” during the night.
  2. Establish a Relaxing Activity – This could be reading books, playing quietly in their room, etc.  Do not turn the TV on – this is time for a quiet activity about 30 minutes before the bedtime routine.
  3. Take a Bath and Brush Teeth – Baths are typically relaxing and are great to include in the bedtime routine.  Brushing teeth is important to establish a good dental hygiene routine.
  4. Turn on Music – Pick some music that will be designated as their “sleep music.” This music is only played at bedtime or naptime. No other times are allowed. This music should be very quiet, soothing and sleepy.
  5. Read a Story – Make reading a part of your child’s bedtime routine.  Reading stories about going to bed are a great way to help with the transition.
  6. Put Child Into Bed – After reading books, put the child into THEIR bed.  It’s important to be consistent. The routine should be the same each night, so that your child learns the routine.
  7. Turn Off the Lights – Leave the room while your child is still awake and turn off the lights.  You may leave on a night light and the music to help soothe your child to sleep.

Routines are important and beneficial for all children.  By establishing a bedtime routine, your child will be able to sleep better, which will benefit them in other areas of their development.  Another benefit, if your child sleeps better – you will too!

Resources:

Evidence for Bedtime Routines

Bedtime Routines and Single Parents

Bedtime Routines for Preschoolers 

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