Creating a consistent bedtime routine for your child results in a comfortable, stable child who knows what is expected of him or her. When children are provided with a simple routine, they are able to follow it and structure their days around it. Knowing what comes next, and what to expect every day is a reassuring feeling for children, and helps them prepare for bed. A child bedtime routine also allows caregivers to ensure that the child sleeps well, which is essential for the emotional and cognitive development of your child; it also means that the child is refreshed on waking up, making school mornings much easier to handle. Lack of sleep can cause behavioral problems, inactivity, lack of concentration and disobedience.
Create a Child Bedtime Routine
When you plan a bedtime routine for children, make sure it is one that you and your partner will be able to stick to. Choose a time that will not force you to rush or keep children up late, and one that allows time for bedtime rituals that you might like to include. Simple rituals during a child bedtime routine like a warm bath, a bedtime story, being tucked in with a toy, saying prayers, or a goodnight hug and kiss are enough to keep children happy. A glass of warm milk or hot chocolate or a light snack is a good idea if children ask for something before they sleep.
Help Children Adapt to a Bedtime Routine
Once you have worked out a bedtime routine for children, help them to adapt to it and time themselves by it. Children should not watch TV, play rough games, or take part in animated discussions in the hour before bedtime otherwise their sleep patterns will be affected. Similarly, coffee, desserts laden with sugar, colas and aerated drinks will keep children awake. Simple learning games, preparing their school bags for the next day or mild discussions are soothing and calming. Help children unwind by reminding them that bedtime is close. For young children, describing what they will do next usually gives them a sense of perspective.
Child Bedtime Routine Rules
Bedtime routines for children should come with rules and rewards, so that they are more strictly adhered to. Depending on the kind of behavior and the number of children, create rules that ensure each bedtime routine helps the children to sleep better and more regularly. Rules like no talking after lights-out, no getting out of bed, no asking for water more than once – all these are common rules that make sure children know their limits within a bedtime routine.
Setting Bedtime Routine Rules for Yourself
Sending children to bed early helps them grow and develop. They also remain healthy and fit when they have a regular sleep pattern. Also, putting children in bed earlier than your own sleep time offers a number of benefits for you and your partner. A bedtime routine makes time for planning the next day, school work and homework, and will make it easier in the morning. Come up with a few rules to make the best of this time.
- Don’t keep returning to the child’s room when they call. Children don’t usually want to sleep and will do anything to avoid it. Going back each time they call shows them that you’re awake and probably doing something interesting, and will be willing to spend more time with them.
- Children may be scared of the dark or of half-open closet doors. Take down anything hanging up and shut closet or washroom doors. Place a dim night light in your child’s room or leave the bedroom door ajar and keep an outside light on.
- Avoid making loud noises or watching TV close to their rooms. Children sometimes stay awake waiting for their parents to go to bed, and will force themselves to stay awake if they hear you.
A bedtime routine allows parents to spend quality time with children and forge a special bond through cuddling and reading to them. It also provides a safe atmosphere in which children learn to expect sleep and ready themselves for it. Also, you and your partner will be able to spend time together without the distraction of children, which helps keep your bond strong. Planning for trips, finances and holidays, or just discussing the day is done best after the kids are asleep.