Helpful Tips to Get Your Child into a Bedtime Routine

Many parents struggle with getting their children to bed on time. Parents often give their children a bedtime that is not met. To help get your child following a routine and eliminate a bedtime battle, try the following tips.

5 Steps to Creating a Stress-free Bedtime:parents and child at bedtime

  1. Create a picture schedule to help your son or daughter complete their bedtime routine. If it is age appropriate have them help create the schedule with you.
  2. You want to make sure that the schedule is accessible and being used throughout the different bedtime steps. After your child completes each step have them put a sticker or a check mark by it to show that it was completed successfully. Your child will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride for completing these tasks, as well as, have a visual reminder of what steps are done and what are still remaining before lights out.  Some activities that you can include on the schedule are:
    1. Take a bath
    2. Put on pajamas
    3. Brush teeth
    4. Get a drink of water
    5. Pick a friend to bring to bed (i.e., teddy bear, doll, or another favorite stuffed animal)
    6. Pick out a book to read
    7. Go to bed
  3. It is very important to keep in mind that you should start the bedtime routine at the same time every night about an hour before your child should be sleeping. For example, if you want your child to be sleeping by 8:00pm, start the bedtime schedule at 7:00pm. This ensures you will have enough time to complete all the steps and your son or daughter will not be rushed.
  4. When creating the bedtime schedule, make sure the activities picked are calming. You do not want to have activities that will make your child hyper and therefore, more awake. The point of the bedtime steps are to help them start to wind down and get ready to sleep.
  5. Once you are finished reading a bedtime story to your child, say your goodnights. Be sure to let your child know that you will be back in a few minutes to make sure they are sleeping. Being aware that you plan to come back may help to ensure they do not try to play quietly with toys or look at books. If your son or daughter is still awake when you come back, tell them goodnight again and let them know you will be back later to check on them.

This routine will most likely take multiple tries, and perhaps even some adjusting of steps, before your child will complete the steps without attempting to prolong the process. Remembering to stay consistent is key, and before you know it your son or daughter will be off in dreamland!

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