Important Steps To Creating A Bedtime Routine With Children

Before my son started preschool, we really didn't have a set schedule, which meant complete chaos in our home, especially around bedtime. However, Josiah is now in kindergarten and everything has completely changed. Now that we do have a set routine, I've noticed how much more we get out of our days. Every night I feel like we have accomplished quite a bit and this is very satisfying. What's more satisfying is having kids go to bed without struggle or reading ten books before they settle down. This used to be a nightly issue. I've come to find that a bedtime ritual is, indeed, the key to good sleep and happy kids ready to get up and go in the morning.

Here are my suggestions for establishing a daily routine preparing kids for bed:

The first part of our night always begins with bath time. It is a great way to begin the process of slowing down and relaxing muscles. You can also follow the bath time with a massage. I do this often with my youngest son who sometimes has growing pains and this seems to help him sleep much better.
About an hour before bedtime, encourage quite "me" play time, which means no running around, screaming or playing competitive games. This gives children a chance to slow down, relax and wind down from a long day. Once the hour is up, its time to begin your nighttime routine. My husband and I talked about our routine for the boys ahead of time so we were both on the same page. You should keep a routine that generally lasts around 15 minutes: putting toys away, brushing teeth, using the potty, etc. You may want to keep a chart kids can check off each night as they complete tasks. We have a chore chart the kids check off each day and they get $1 at the end of the week if they have every space filled. This just gives some extra incentive for them to follow the routine.

Once all of the chart items are complete, it's time to pick out a book and get into bed. I've found that the types of mattresses we have really make a difference in restful sleep, which is why we found adorable toddler mattresses that are not only comfortable, but also fun for the kids. We turn off all bright lights and just have on a lamp during this time. Our reading time is my favorite part of our nightly routine and is our special bonding time as a family.
After story time, I always give kisses and tuck the boys in, one by one. Then, I turn off the lamp and turn on their little night light. Of course, routines should be personalized to your own children's needs, but as long as you stick to the schedule, you should see a huge change in attitude and happiness. My boys were much more rested and ready to play in the morning, which just made getting up that much easier for all of us.

Do you have a nightly sleep routine? If so, how does it differ from ours? 


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