Introducing a bedtime routine early in your child’s life sets them up for the future, and benefits you! It’s no secret that the pandemic put a damper on everyone’s sleep- according to a study of 1,000 people aged 25-65 done by Casper, 53% of us are going to bed later than usual or at inconsistent times. But just like a bed, whatever is messed up can always be made again. Here are five bedtime tips to get your kid (and you) counting sheep in no time.
1. Limit Screentime
Television, phones, and video games are wonderful, but they keep the brain awake, which is not what you want before bedtime. An excellent way to limit screentime comes through creating tech-free zones like the dining room. Yes, this means you too, but you’ll be able to connect with your children as you eat. After dinner, you can bust out an old-fashioned board game to keep your family entertained until the bedtime routine begins.
2. Mind the 4 B’s of bedtime
Healthy Children provides a great list of bedtime habits: bathing, brushing, books, and bedtime.
- Baths provide your child with a pleasant, soothing environment and a little extra playtime before they have to settle down.
- Moving right to brushing makes sense, and it keeps your child from eating any extra snacks that will keep them up.
- There’s a reason that books are such a popular part of bedtime routines. We’ve talked about the benefits of books in your child’s life as they help to strengthen the mind, and it’s a tech-free way to entertain your child and help them wind down.
- Finally, we have bedtime.
The key to bedtimes is consistency. Make sure your child knows when they are expected to be in bed. Handle their needs before putting them down, so they have no excuse to leave their room.
4. Make sure your child is comfy
Do their pajamas fit? Is their blanket nice and soft? How’s the temperature in their room? Test out white noise machines or a fan to soothe your child to sleep. Also, provide them with a nightlight to deter any monsters and keep one in the bathroom if they are prone to waking up in the middle of the night.
5. Reassure your child throughout the routine
If your child is older, reminders throughout the night will help reinforce their bedtime routine. Start reminding them at dinner of the sequence of events: “First, we’re going to eat, then after dinner we can play a game, then it’s bathtime and pj’s. I’ll read you a story, and then it’s off to sleep.” Give them some choices like what pajamas they want to wear or what book they want to read. This makes them part of the process and introduces some independence.
With any routine, practice makes perfect. Try to be understanding to keep bedtime as stress-free as possible. Encouraging your child that you believe in them and that you are there will go a long way. Be on the lookout for our next article, where we’ll cover the morning routine! Wondering how much sleep your baby needs? We have an article about that too!