A pleasant bedtime routine helps children transition from their busy day and calm down for a good night’s rest. To create a bedtime routine that works best for your family, you’ll need to meet the needs of your individual children. Put together a predictable, consistent sequence of events that you can consistently follow in the same order every night. The routine will change as your child grows, but the basics will remain the same. This helps your child build trust knowing their needs will be fulfilled which will support their emotional development.
Bedtime routines work best if you keep the hour before bedtime for quiet play. Quiet play helps lower your child’s activity level and prepare his/her nervous system for relaxation. Refrain from announcing,“it’s time for bed!” This might make your child upset if they don’t want to go to bed. Helping children transition into their bedtime routine involves respecting their play time and offering them warnings such as, “We are going to clean up in 5 minutes.” This will allow your child time to process the change and wrap-up his/her game.
Bedtime Routine Suggestions
- Set a specific time and stick to it: Your child will adjust much more quickly to the routine if the routine follows a consistent pattern.
- Offer a snack: A light snack will help your child stay asleep through the night.
- Brush teeth: Be sure to brush your child’s teeth after their snack to promote oral health.
- Get dressed for bed: Choose comfortable pajamas that are neither too warm nor too light.
- Read before bedtime: Reading to your child every night before bed will help your child relax as well as promote early emergent literacy skills important for reading success.
- Goodnight: Say “goodnight” when you are ready to leave the room and try not to come back into the room so your child knows it’s time for bed.