Bedtime is a time of night that can either be a sweet time for kids or a long battle for kids to finally get settled for the night and get a good rest. We all know how important sleep is for the whole family, so making bedtime a time that’s easy is what every parents hopes for. We’ve seen stages come and go with our kids where bedtime can be easy and we’ve gone through stages where our kids don’t want to be in bed alone or are constantly thinking up reasons to get back out of bed. Here’s a couple things we’ve found to help make bedtime a peaceful transition from a busy day to a good night’s sleep:
- Create a bedtime routine and stick to it. Our bodies all get used to routines, and setting healthy habits and patterns are good for kids. I am not someone who is good at scheduling, and I do my best to have a healthy balance with my kids of routines and being flexible. While we don’t always go to bed at the exact same time, I’ve found that following a nightly routine helps their bodies realize when it’s time for sleep. Ours is simple. We usually tell them they have 5 minutes until bedtime so they need to clean up and pick one thing to bring up with them to bed. Then we go potty, brush teeth, put on pajamas, and head up to bed for stories, prayers, and songs. This simple routine helps them get prepared to fall asleep.
- Be consistent. If they aren’t allowed to get out of bed after they lay down, stick with that! We went through a short phase with our son where he didn’t really know whether it was ok to get up or not. So he would come downstairs with just about every reason he could think of. Once we were consistent with the only reasons he would be allowed to get up, bedtime was much easier.
- Give a small snack and drink not too long before bed. Our kids are still little so sometimes they don’t realize when they are going to be hungry. We’ve found that a healthy snack and a small glass of water about 30 minutes before bed helps make sure that they aren’t falling asleep hungry and asking for snacks at bedtime. We are also at the potty training stage with our little girl so we are very careful not to give her too much to drink right before bed!
- Have a regular bedtime. While I mentioned above that I’m not a strict schedule follower, I do think it’s important to have a regular bedtime. This might change slightly as your week changes and special events happen, but it is important for kids to have a regular bedtime that they follow most evenings. Every family dynamic is different so no time is the perfect fit for everyone, but do what is best for your family that allows your kids to get the sleep they need.
- Create a comfortable environment. Every child is different, but if you know your child is always warm at night, make sure he has pajamas that will be comfortable for him to sleep in. Some kids need a nightlight while others sleep better in a dark room. Some children need a security blanket or stuffed animal, while others do not. Help your kids out by knowing what will make them comfortable at bedtime.
No routine is perfect and every child is different, but these are a couple things we have found to help our kids at bedtime to get the best sleep that their bodies need. What is your top tip for bedtime with kids?