Help your Child Build their Bedtime Routine
Getting your little ones to actually go to bed can be exhausting. Building a routine for them helps, but that isn’t easy to do either. That’s why we’ve written out our favourite tips for actually getting them to stick to it. That way, you can finally relax after a long and stressful day, without having to worry about your kids fighting you, or getting up again for no reason.
So if you want to enjoy your evenings again, read on for some tips you may not have thought of before.
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1. Keep Consistent Timing
The whole point of a routine is to get your children used to doing the same thing every night, so they can go to sleep without any hassle. With that in mind, it doesn’t make any sense to change their bedtime every single night.
Instead, keep it consistent. Decide upon a set time to begin their routine and start getting them ready for bed, and don’t waver from it. It can be difficult, and you may be tempted to think that half an hour here or there won’t hurt, but it does disrupt the routine. A disrupted routine becomes harder to stick to, and can even disrupt the amount of restful sleep they get.
If you happen to notice that your child is tired a while before you begin their bedtime routine, however, it would be a good idea to move the routine earlier to coincide with their natural sleep schedule.
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2. Let Them Sleep
It can be difficult to not immediately rush to your child’s aid when they can’t sleep, or to deliberately withhold things from them. When it comes to sleep though, that’s exactly what you should do.
If every night your child falls asleep, they’re in your presence, with a night light, and music, then when they don’t have those things, they’re not going to be able to get to sleep. Instead, letting them fall asleep without any additional aid can actually help them sleep better throughout their childhood, and even into their adult life.
By slowly increasing the amount of time between your child calling for you, and you visiting them, this also helps to reaffirm that they can get to sleep without parental assistance. A kids weighted blanket can help to keep them calm, but remember they are only recommended for children over the age of two, and should not be heavier than 10% of the child’s body weight.
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3. Give Them Some Choice
While it’s your duty as a parent to decide when your child needs to go to bed, and make sure they stick to it, giving your little one some control over their routine can help them enjoy the process a lot more.
Whether you’re letting them choose what to wear to bed, or if they want a particular story, giving your little one some control over their routine makes them feel like a part of it, rather than just being told what to do.
Because of that, you should find that they enjoy it more and are happier to take part in their bedtime routine. After sticking to it for a while, the whole routine should become second nature to them.
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4. Keep it Short and Sweet
On the whole, a bedtime routine should only take about 15 minutes from start to finish (add another 5-10 for bathtime). If it lasts longer than that, it can become far more difficult to stick to it on a regular basis.
You could also find that your child is unable to keep their attention span for that long, and midway through they may start misbehaving and acting up. In order to help them and yourself stick to it as easily as possible, it’s best to keep the entire routine relatively short.
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5. Avoid Stimulation
One of the worst things you can do when trying to get your child to fall asleep is to stimulate them. This isn’t just in the form of physical activities, but mental stimulation too. There’s a reason adults are told to avoid screens before falling asleep, and the same goes for children.
You should make sure that your child has no contact with digital screens (whether it’s a phone, iPad, or TV) for about 30 to 60 minutes before they go to bed. Otherwise, you’ll have woken their brains up, and they won’t be able to sleep.
In an age where we’re constantly surrounded by screens, it can be difficult to separate your child from technology. One possible method could be to engage in some calm play instead of allowing them to watch tv or videos.
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6. Bedtime Routine to Keep Their Teeth (and Gums) Clean
Maintaining good dental hygiene is one of the most important ways to keep healthy, and the same goes for your child. If your child’s teeth haven’t come through yet, then using baby gum wipes is extremely beneficial. If they have, then using a kids electric toothbrush is much better at keeping their teeth clean than a manual one.
Making sure your little one has a cool and interesting electric toothbrush is also a fantastic way to get them to brush their teeth on a regular basis, especially if they’ve picked it out themselves.
Kids love being able to make decisions, because it lets them feel more independent and more adult. By letting them choose their toothbrush rather than simply picking one out for them, they’re more likely to connect with it too.
By making sure their mouth and teeth are clean every evening, it’ll also become far easier for them to continue the habit throughout childhood and as they continue to grow.
Further Reading: Parenting – Top 20 Natural Teething Tips for Babies and Toddlers
And those are our steps to building a bedtime routine for your little one. You may find some of them are easier to stick to or enforce than others, but you should hold fast and remain consistent.
At the end of the day, you are the parent so you make the rules. If you let them have their own way now, it’ll be harder to enforce structure and discipline as they get older.
PIN: 6 Steps to Help your Child Build their Bedtime Routine