Child Bedtime Routines: Do’s and Don’ts
Bedtime routines are so important for children. We have found these great tips for do and don’ts for a bedtime routine from VeryWellFamily. There is no absolute right way to set up a bedtime routine. Some kids like to hear a bedtime story, others may want to talk about their day, and some may just want to say their prayers and go to sleep. As long as your child falls asleep easily and sleeps all night, then your bedtime routine is likely working well.
Other things that you should likely do as part of a good bedtime routine can include that you:
- Do start early. It is much easier to begin a good bedtime routine when your baby is young than to try and change poor sleep routines when you have a toddler or preschooler who still isn’t sleeping well.
- Do make your bedtime routine age-appropriate. Your child’s bedtime routine will change over time. For example, while it is expected for a newborn or younger infant to fall asleep nursing or drinking a bottle of formula, you can try and start putting your baby down while he is drowsy but still awake once he is four or five months old.
- Do keep your bedtime routine fairly short. A good bedtime routine will probably last about 10 to 15 minutes, or a little longer if you include a bath.
- Do use a security object as a part of your bedtime routine. A security object, like a stuffed animal or blanket, can be an important part of a good bedtime routine, especially for toddlers and preschoolers. These types of items usually aren’t safe in the crib for younger infants, though.
- Do be consistent in your bedtime routine. Your bedtime routine may change over time, as your child gets older, but it should be fairly consistent from day to day, starting at the same time and going in the same order. Check out our Good Night Sleep Tight Chart, which will help you to create the perfect routine at bedtime.
- Do offer some choices in your bedtime routine. Your child can’t choose when to go to bed, but you can let him have some power in his bedtime routine by letting him have a choice over which pajamas to wear and which books to read, etc.
- Do understand that a little crying can be okay. Some kids, no matter what you do, will cry for a few minutes as they settle down for sleep or when they wake up in the middle of the night. This can be okay if they quickly settle down and you are comfortable letting them cry for a few minutes. Keep in mind that even the Ferber Method doesn’t advocate simply letting kids cry all night.
- Do use a night light. Few kids like to sleep in the dark, which makes a night light useful.
- Do include dental hygiene in your bedtime routine. Whether you are cleaning your baby’s gums or reminding your older child to brush and floss his teeth, proper dental hygiene is a good habit that you can include in your child’s bedtime routine each night.
- Do remind your kids to use the bathroom one last time before going to bed. This is especially important for younger kids who still have issues with bedwetting.
We hope that you find these tips useful.