Simplifying Bedtime

Kids need plenty of sleep to stay healthy and happy, and an age-appropriate bedtime is key. Kids also thrive on routine, so try to keep your bedtime activities as regular as possible. It’s so important to get your kids to bed early enough to enable them to get the sleep they need, but this means parents sometimes miss out on playtime at night or even seeing their children awake at the end of the day. Please let them get to bed on time, and try to find other times to spend with them – maybe making more time in the morning or spending special quality time during the weekend.

If you find that your bedtime routine and kids’ antics are dragging on longer and longer, here are three tips to help you get your kids to sleep on time

  1. START EARLY
    This may be tough if you work a long day, but the bedtime routine can even start before you or your kids get home. If your child is at daycare until the early evening, ask your provider if she can feed him dinner or change him into his PJs before you pick him up. That will be one less thing you have to do once you get home. The goal with a bedtime routine is to slow down and begin readying the mind and body for sleep. By starting the process earlier, it gives you and your kids the opportunity to ease into bedtime without increasing stress or rushing to beat the clock. And please try to turn off the TV at least an hour before bedtime!

  2. SIMPLIFY
    Cut down your routine to the basics. Think about what things you can do at other times of the day. For example, ask your nanny to bathe your little one during the day (maybe before a nap). Read more stories at other times of the day so that you can just have one special book before bed. If you are transitioning from a longer routine, cut back gradually over a few days to allow your child to adjust to the shorter routine.

  3. WRITE IT DOWN
    Regularity is key, so list the steps, order, and timing of your routine. It will help you be consistent, but it will also enable other caregivers to follow the routine if you aren’t there. For toddlers and older children, try making a simple picture chart of the routine that they can follow to keep the bedtime simple and fun. You can even reward following the routine and completing the steps by giving stickers or other positive reinforcement.

For more sleep tips, please see our Rules to Sleep By.

2 Responses to “Simplifying Bedtime”

  1. Hi!
    Recently my daughter who is 3 and a half months old has been having strange sleep patterns despite me doing a routine with her (sleep, eat, play and sleep again, although I have to feed her a bit again so she gets drowsy). Some evenings she goes to sleep around 7 thirty/quarter to eight and then I give her a feed about 3 hours later so she lasts the night (it’s not a dream feed as she wouldn’t rouse much so I change her nappy or change her clothes so she wakes a little). However, she’s been waking up after about 4 hours! This is despite the fact that before I used to do the same thing (although I waited less time for the late night feeding) and she used to sleep 7 or 8 hours before another feeding!
    Then on other nights we try to put her down at 7 thirty/quarter to eight and she wakes up after half an hour or an hour and then it’s hard to get her to sleep again but then when we do (at around ten’ish) she sleeps for about 8 hours!
    Some people have suggested she may be unsettled because she’s teething but I’m not 100% sure this is the case.
    Also, we always do a bedtime routine with her!

    • Sleep Sisters

      Hi, Anna! Sorry you’re struggling! 3.5 months is still pretty early for a baby to fall into a really consistent sleep routine! You’re on the right track. There are many reasons why babies this young wake up at night. Best guess is a growth spurt which happens around 3 months! Keep doing what you’re doing – stay consistent but really watch for her sleepy cues and make sure she’s not getting over-tired. She may need an earlier bedtime. Naps also have an affect on night time sleep! Make sure she’s well-rested throughout the day!
      Best of Luck!

2 Responses to “Simplifying Bedtime”

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