Children’s Bedtime Routine – Dos and Don’ts

Putting your child to bed can seem traumatizing for many adults. You may feel that your child is a holy terror at bedtime, but sweet at any other time of the day. As parents, we have all been there, and hopefully, this article from BetterCleans will offer some useful tips for when you’re faced with this situation. You want to get your child to bed at a decent time, yet he or she asks for a drink of water, 34 bedtime stories, and says I love you 291 times. The other scenario is that your child kicks, screams, and cries until he or she is exhausted and seems to pass out on his or her own. Neither scenario is helpful. You should stop here and realize that you will NOT be a perfect parent because they do not exist. There are some things that you can do to help your child at bedtime, but each child will respond to things differently.

Dos

The following list contains a few things you can do to establish a working bedtime routine. Sometimes flexibility should be allowed when circumstances arise. However, these suggestions will help your child enjoy the bedtime routine.

Be Consistent

This piece of advice is suitable for children, whether they are going to bed or when establishing dinner routines or wake up routines. Children thrive on consistency. They need to know what to do and when to do it. You can establish this routine in whatever way that you need to do it. If you need to brush their teeth and hair before bed, do that at the same time each night. If you have medicine, vitamins, or other health-related routines before bed, do them at the same time.

Have a Bedtime

We ARE talking about bedtime routines, right? However, parents do not always have an established bedtime. Some children will resist sleep and continue playing until they fall over. Having a bedtime will help children’s internal clock establish itself better. Be sure that your child’s bedtime allows them enough sleep to be happy and functioning the next day. Warn your children when they will need to go to bed earlier due to having an activity the next day.

Let Them Have Input

If your child likes to read a book at bedtime, let them choose the book. If you tell them stories, let them pick the story. Choosing pajamas may seem like a silly thing, but children like to have some control too. Let your child decide what they want and do not want at bedtime. Make reasonable accommodations. A stuffed toy or doll may make them feel better about sleeping alone.

Help Them Feel Safe

A security blanket, doll, or night light may make your child feel much safer and happier going to bed. Help them feel safe in their room by offering one of these things. If your child sometimes gets up at night, place a nightlight in the hall or bathroom to help them navigate. If your child gets up often at night to use the bathroom, you may want to limit their food and drink intake in the evening.

Don’ts

While some parents and children have different needs, the following things should be avoided at bedtime. However, you should keep your child’s individual needs in mind. While most people do not suggest eating or drinking near bedtime, some children have medicines they must take at night and may need a snack to take them with. These suggestions are simply to help establish a routine. You should always do what is best for your child.

Stimulation

An exciting story, cartoon, or song will not usually help your child to sleep better. You should avoid stimulation as much as possible, leading up to the bedtime routine. Children can sing a song, listen to a story, or possibly watch a show, but the last things you do before beginning the bedtime routine should be calming.

Food and Drinks

Avoid sugary or caffeine-laden snacks and drinks in the evening. Juice may be okay for some children, but stimulation should be minimal near the end of the day, as previously noted. Snacks and foods should be as nutritious as possible. An occasional bowl of ice cream might not break your routine, but choosing these things regularly might not be the best idea.

Let Them Run the Show

While you can give your child some choices, do not let them run the bedtime routine. Make sure that your child knows how important a good night’s sleep is and lead them through the routine. Letting them choose a book or stuffed animal to sleep with is fine, but you should not let them push you into extra time, stories, or snacks.

Make the Routine Hard

If the routine has too many steps, your child will not be able to complete them consistently. Make the routine simple and calming. A bath, oral hygiene, and a bedtime story are all that is needed for a bedtime routine. Medicines and other health-related activities can be included.

Final Thoughts

Don’t worry too much about the order of the routine. Yes, your friend may give their child a bath, then brush their teeth, and then tell a story. Some children may want to brush their teeth before a bath. These things are not as important as establishing a consistent routine and avoiding bedtime stimulation. Be careful about staying with your child until they fall asleep. This behavior can create dependence. However, if your child is experiencing anxiety, you can stay for a few nights and ween them away from the back rubs at bedtime. The important thing here is to teach your child the importance of rest and establish a working routine with them. Some nights, you may need to change the routine to meet the needs of the child or family. Do not worry about the night here or there. The important thing is that most nights are on a routine, and the changes are for reasons the child understands. A visit from grandma might change the routine, but an extended visit should not impact the child’s routine for more than one day. A well-rested child is usually a much happier child.

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    I’M REBECCA ALSTON!

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