Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
All children need a comforting bedtime routine, and they need it from early infancy right up through the school years. It gives them a healthy sense of predictability and it's a wonderful opportunity for parents and children to slow down and reconnect peacefully at the end of the day.
Here's how to create a soothing bedtime routine:
A soothing bedtime routine signals the body and brain to slow down and prepare for sleep. The tone of bedtime should be calm, quiet and reassuring as you prepare your kid to separate from you all night. Here are the steps in a calm bedtime ritual:
- Start dimming the lights about one hour before bedtime to cue the body to slow down and get ready for sleep.
- Have a soothing bath and brush teeth.
- If you'd like to, you can give your kid a little massage before putting on pjs to relax him.
- Then move to a quiet bonding activity like reading books or singing a soft song; all which will help her throw that switch in her brain from "alert" to "sleepy."
- Promise to check on your kid before you go to bed (and do it!). Children love it when you tell them how cozy and peaceful they look when they sleep. They take it as a confirmation that you really are watching over them, that they are as safe and sound as you promised.
- Lights out!
- If you have a toddler, give him choices before bed like which pjs do you want to wear, which book do you want to read or what snuggly would you like to cuddle? It will make him feel in control and make him less likely to revolt when it's time for light's out.
- To help the "I can't sleep!" claims, guide your kid through a relaxation technique or visualization. Teach her how to close her eyes and summon up relaxing images like playing at the beach or building a snowman. Help her "create" a happy dream for the night; "Tonight I will dream about building a sand castle." It helps children feel more in control, particularly if they worry about nightmares.
- Think about creating your own unique bedtime ritual which you will share for years to come: a special song, sharing two things you liked about your day, reading out loud, prayers, blessings or sending kisses and love to others.
Do you have a bedtime routine in place? What special rituals do you and your child share before nighty night? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More sleep advice articles:
- Commit to Getting Your Kid to Sleep
- Educate Yourself About Your Child's Sleep
- Start a Sleep Log
- The Importance of Consistency When Sleep Coaching
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
- The Importance of Putting Your Kid to Sleep "Drowsy but Awake"
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How To Do It
- Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 2 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 3 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Be Your Kid's Nap Coach
- Check Off Your Sleep Coaching Checklist
- Create a Solid Sleep Plan
- Nightmares and Night Terrors (And How to Tell the Difference)
- Potty Training and Sleep
- End Early Rising
- The Sleep Lady on Transitioning Your Kid from a Crib to a Big-Kid Bed
- Ending Bedtime Stalling