The Importance of Having a Bedtime Routine
Bedtime can often seem more like a battle or a power struggle, rather than the pleasant moment we wish to share with our kids. Repeating a bedtime routine with them everyday before going to bed will make this process easier.
Before you know it, bedtime will be a peaceful and tranquil moment that you and your little ones can enjoy.
I don’t want to go to bed
It’s very common for children to dislike having to go to bed, for a number of reasons. As a result, they resist the moment and put it off as much as possible. This often leads parents to lose their patience, as well as our resources to get them to comply.
For many, fear is the main reason that children resist going to bed. At night, children are left alone, in the dark, and may feel fearful and imagine a variety of dangers.
In other cases, children have an excess of activity that keeps things from flowing adequately. Children are, by nature, active, energetic, and explorative. They enjoy moving around, making discoveries and being busy. This can make it hard for them to relax and slow down.
It’s also possible that children just want to spend time with their parents. Many children spend most of the day without seeing one or both of their parents because of their long work hours. It’s understandable that children are reluctant to be apart from them when it’s time to go to bed.
There are some basic guidelines that parents can follow in order to help their little ones develop good sleeping habits.
- First of all, parents should determine what time their children should go to sleep. To do so, it’s important to keep in mind how many hours your kids should sleep, according to their age.
- Try to make the time period before bed as relaxed and peaceful as possible. At the same time, it’s best to turn off all screens at least two hours before going to bed.
- Do your best to prevent your children from relating going to bed with something negative. Never send your children to bed as a punishment for poor behavior.
- Give your children a warning. About 15 minutes beforehand, let your kids know that it’s almost time to go to bed. That way, they can finish what they’re doing and the change won’t be as abrupt.
Create a bedtime routine
Having a series of activities that you repeat in the same way every evening can help give children a sense of continuity and stability. At the same time, it helps them take in the sequence as a habit more naturally.
The essential keys that any bedtime routine should include are the following:
- Maintain the same time for going to sleep and waking up every day.
- Include the obligations your kids should carry out as part of the routine. For example, washing their hands, brushing their teeth, or preparing their backpack for the next day.
- Carry out calm activities that will help your child relax.
- Include physical contact and accompany your little ones to their beds.
At the same time, make sure that the place where your children sleep is conducive to rest. Dim lighting, comfortable temperature, quiet music and a pleasant smell make for a great combination.
Suggested activities for your bedtime routine
Below, we’ll provide a list of activities that you can include as part of your children’s bedtime routine. Besides the obligatory tasks mentioned above, we suggest peaceful activities that you can do with your kids each eventing.
- Read stories. Everybody knows that children love to hear stories. It makes their imaginations soar, but that’s not all. It makes them feel valuable and important, given that it’s a time when they have your full attention. This is true whether you read to your children, or your children read to you.
- Encourage positive thinking. This helps to combat any possible fears, and also helps little ones develop an optimistic mindset. We suggest you dedicate the last moments before your child goes to sleep to going over the good things that happened that day. You can also use this moment to imagine nice things together.
- Help your children reduce their activity level. If your children have a hard time settling down before bed, simple relaxation techniques can be very helpful. For example, you can rub their backs or play with their hair as you sing to them. You can also ask them to close their eyes and imagine they’re going down a staircase. With your voice, guide them down each imaginary step. At the bottom of the staircase, they’ll find a room full of soft and cozy pillows where they can sleep peacefully.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Adán, M. (2017, 15 febrero). Ejercicios de relajación para niños antes de ira a dormir. Recuperado de https://isepclinic.es/blog/ejercicios-relajacion-ninos-ir-dormir/
- Sánchez-Carpintero Abad, R. (s.f.). Trastornos del sueño en la niñez. Recuperado de https://www.aeped.es/sites/default/files/documentos/34-sueno.pdf