A bedtime routine is a great way to help eliminate the whines, tantrums, and struggles typically associated with bedtime. Of course, not all bedtime rituals and routines are created equally, and not all will work for every child, as each child’s personality is different. The following is a look at some of the things you should include in a bedtime routine to make bedtime easier:
A wind-down time:
No matter your child’s personality, you need to help make bedtime routines easier by starting to quiet and calm things down for about an hour before you intend to begin your bedtime routine. Getting things quieted down will prepare your child’s nervous system for relaxation, and help them fall asleep easier. Eliminate activities that increase activity level such as playing, tickling, running around, watching action-filled shows or movies, etc. You want your child to start getting ready physically and mentally for sleep.
While bedtimes should be slightly adjustable depending on the activity of the day, you should have a specific time as part of your bedtime routine. Your child will respond to a time better than to other bedtime indicators, even tiredness. In addition to that your child’s body clock will adjust much more quickly to the routine if the routine follows a natural and consistent pattern. So, choose a bedtime that will consistently work for you, and do your best to stick to it.
Bedtime can be the best time of the day for both.
Part of a bedtime routine should be a snack, this does two things for your child, first, it will help them to not get hungry at night and awaken, but in addition to that, a light snack that includes both protein and carbohydrates will induce sleep as well. So, you get sleep brought on faster, and lasting through the night. How? Well, the carbohydrates make your child sleepy, and the protein will help keep their blood sugar level until breakfast. So, about 20-30 minutes before bed, offer your child a light snack such as some cheese and bread.
A bath does a few things for you, your child gets clean, which means you can wash their sheets less frequently, but in addition, the warm water can help raise their body temperature ever so slightly to make them more prone to sleepiness. Also, if you provide a few bath toys for them, it could help them relax and be happy, which also helps you fall asleep better.
Sleeping in clothes designed for sleep is an essential part of making bedtime easier, and sleep better. So, choose pajamas for your child that are not binding, and that are not too warm or too cold.
Stories, songs, etc:
Your child should be filled with happy thoughts, and enjoy bedtime. If they enjoy the process of bedtime, it will be far easier, and they will sleep better and longer. So, include in your routine a time for fun, but calm fun. Read a favorite story, consider choosing one that has to do with going to bed to further reinforce the idea. Sing a favorite lullaby, or play some soft music in their room as they go to sleep. In addition to a song, story, etc. you may want to get your child a special sleep buddy, such as a stuffed animal or doll to help them feel more secure.
Last, but not least, part of a successful, and easier bedtime routine is a parting. Your child will never go to bed easily if they feel dependent on you to fall asleep. So, have a good night parting be part of your routine where you hug, or kiss, and say goodnight, and then you leave the room for the night. You need to ensure that you do not re-enter the room, as this will teach the child that they do not have to sleep without you.