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How To Establish A Bedtime Routine

 

How To Establish A

Bedtime Routine

In my house, bedtime is the best time. Every night, I am able to get my kids to bed (ages 5 and 21 months) at the same time, every time with ease and I give full credit to our well established bedtime routine. You may be surprised to hear the benefits of having a routine in place (other than that well deserved me time). Poor sleep in school aged children have been linked to learning difficulties, behavioral problems, and mood swings. Establishing a routine has been shown to reduce sleep behavior problems as well as improves the length of time the child stays asleep.

You might be thinking, “That’s all good and dandy, but how do I get my kids on a routine?”.

Okay, I hear you. I will lay out our bedtime routine and you can copy, paste, and apply or tweak it as needed.

Our bedtime routine is ultimately based off of the 4 B’s of Bedtime:

  • Bathing

  • Brushing

  • Book

  • Bedtime

Picking A Bedtime

The first thing that you will need to do is set in stone an actual bedtime. This will vary from household to household, so whatever works best for your family. Keep in mind that it is recommended for children newborn to age 5 to get at least 10 hours of sleep at night.

My 5 year old daughter starts school at 8:00 AM and both kids wake up at 6:45 AM. My kids go to bed at 7:30 PM every night giving them both 11 hours of sleep.

Once you have an actual bedtime set, then you can move on to a routine leading up to it.

Clean up time

Having a time for the kids to pick up after themselves (if old enough) not only teaches them independence but responsibility.

At 6:15 PM, I instruct my kids to clean up their toys around the house (with my help). This way the house is neat for the next morning and it teaches the children good habits and independence.

Bath Time

Bath time is a great way for your child to unwind. Warm water is soothing and making bath time a habit right before bed time helps to signal the child that it is near. This way they are expecting it and bed time won’t be a surprise.

At 6:30 PM both kids go into a warm bath together. We wash up first and play second. My kids enjoy bath time so I allow extra time for them to play (about 45 mins Max).

Brushing Teeth

Teeth brushing at night is a good way to teach your child good oral hygiene while keeping their little mouths clean and healthy.

At 7:15 PM, I instruct the kids that it is time to brush their teeth. I brush my son’s teeth and monitor my daughter while she brushes hers. If I remember, we floss (don’t judge me).

Prayers

This part is obviously optional based on your own beliefs. But for our household, we love our Lord & Savior Jesus, so we all kneel for prayer and our little prayer warrior (Layla) says her night time prayers.

Book

Kids seem to love books at bedtime. Reading right before bed not only provides them with the benefits that come from books but also once again lets them know bedtime is here. So at this time, we read a short book or two together.

Bedtime

It’s finally that time!

We give kisses and hugs, then turn the lights out. For our son Zander (20 months), we like to use the term ‘night night’ when it’s time to sleep and he now knows what it means and associates it with his crib and sleepy time. We like to close the bedroom door to minimize noise.

And that’s all folks!

A Little Piece Of Advice

Of course there will be times where the kids will resist by nature but laying down the “law” is important as well.

When Layla (5) gets out of bed for a reason that isn’t real most of the time, being firm works. A child knows when you mean business and you shouldn’t entertain shenanigans after bed time.

If you happen to have a fussy baby, go in and rock them for a few minutes and lay them back down. Keep the talking at a minimum if any at all. Repeat as needed.

As for nap time, Zander takes a nap every morning. I don’t follow a specific routine for nap time but because he goes down everyday around the same time, he automatically gets sleepy and doesn’t resist going into his crib. Naps are important too!

Our bedtime schedule didn’t take long to establish. I would say the kids adjusted almost immediately. The key to setting a schedule and making it stick is consistency. Consistency is king and happens to also be your new bed time friend. And the best time to start is now! Even infants will take to a schedule if you allow them too.

I want to hear your family’s bedtime routine! Leave a comment down below or tweet us @happybaybees and let me know!

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