How a bedtime routine can help your kids sleep

A bedtime routine can help your kids sleep
When you have young kids, sleep is an essential part of your survival as a parent. When your kids sleep well, you sleep well. Thankfully, a bedtime routine can help your kids sleep better. Instead of letting your kids fall asleep whenever and wherever, a bedtime routine can bring structure and security to your child’s day. You and your child will get more sleep when they feel safe and secure. So how can you make it happen? A bedtime routine doesn’t have to be difficult or drawn out. A routine is just something that you do every time your child goes to bed. Your child’s bedtime routine will help them form positive sleep associations. Here are some tips for forming a positive bedtime routine for your child. 

Start the bedtime routine early

Your child’s bedtime routine doesn’t have to happen right before bed. In fact, you should actually start you child’s bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before it’s time to start getting ready for bed. Start to wind down. Put an end to raucous games. Move slower. Dim the lights. Turn off the TV. Talk softer. Prepare your child’s mind and body for their upcoming bedtime routine and sleep.

Your child's bedtime routine

No matter what you do, pick an easy and predictable routine that happens every time your child goes to bed. Try not to draw out your child’s bedtime routine. Fifteen minutes or so should be plenty of time for a good bedtime routine. Decide what is going to help your child fall asleep, and stick with it. Consistency is much more important that what you actually do during your routine. Some examples of bedtime routine elements include:

  • Bath
  • Reading books
  • Telling stories
  • Singing a song
  • Saying prayers
  • Brushing teeth 
  • Putting on pajamas
  • Goodnight kisses
  • Going to the bathroom
  • Snuggling together

Set the stage for good sleep

You’ve prepped your child for a good night of sleep. Don’t just leave them in a space that isn’t going to help them sleep. Get TV’s, tablets, computers, and phones out their bedroom. Keep the space dark enough for good sleep, while still comfortable for those who are scared of the dark. Make the bed up comfortably. Check the temperature so it’s cool enough to sleep without leaving your kids cold. Invest in a white noise machine or fan.

Avoid poor sleep associations

A sleep association happens when your child learns to fall asleep using certain tools or methods. Most of the time, poor sleep associations sneak in when parents try to get their kids to sleep in sheer desperation. A poor sleep association is one that can harm your child, or is unsustainable so that your child can’t fall asleep on their own. Examples of poor sleep associations include:

  • Going to sleep with a bottle
  • Falling asleep to the TV or music
  • Being rocked to sleep
  • Falling asleep to a backrub
  • Sleeping somewhere other than their own bed (usually a parent’s bed)

With a consistent and positive bedtime routine, your child will fall asleep faster and happier. Leaving you plenty of time to get your own shut eye.