Toddler, Child
5th Aug 2020

When it comes to parenting, bedtime can sometimes feel like a game of chance. Some nights your little one drifts off to dreamland without any fuss, while other times it seems nothing you do will settle them into a slumber. This is where a consistent bedtime routine may be a useful tool for helping your little one enter the land of the nod.

As a parent, you’re likely familiar with thew importance of sleep. After an inadequate night’s sleep, you may have even noticed your little one feeling grisly the next day.

So, when it comes to getting a good night’s rest, bedtime can make all the difference in setting them up for success (1).

Noise or excess activities before bed may make it more challenging for your child to settle down(2). 

Instead, laying the foundation for a peaceful slumber may begin with a regular, relaxing bedtime routine.

Step 1: Designate Time To Wind Down

The first step to any routine is setting time aside from your day to practice it. The same goes for your little one’s bedtime routine.

By designating time every day, you may signify to your child that it’s time to start winding down.

This gradual transition from a fun-filled day of learning and exploring to a more subdued environment might be your first step into a smooth bedtime routine. Start with simple steps, like changing into pyjamas and limiting screen time.

Ensure your home’s atmosphere is quieter and more peaceful than during the day. This may help them realise that the time for activities and games is over and that it’s now time for sleep.

Step 2: Run A Warm Bath

For some children, running a warm bath can be a calming exercise where they can relax.

By relaxing your child, you may further create a differentiation between energetic activities of the day and the evening’s subdued environment.

When running a bath, ensure you test the water with your elbow before bathing your child. If it’s too hot for your elbow, it’s too hot for your child. Include some bubbles to make bath time something interesting for your child to look forward to. But, avoid overstimulating your little one with excess bath toys as this could be counterintuative to the relaxing mode you are trying to set

Step 3: Read A Bedtime Story

Whether your child has a tried-and-true favourite tale or a new book to break in, reading before bed can further aid you in crafting a calm and peaceful environment to for your child to doze off.

Choose a setting that is best for you and your child. This may be in the living room on a couch or on your child’s bed.

Regardless, choose a book you both enjoy, settle into a comfortable position and enjoy the read in a soft tone to signify it’s time for your child to sleep

Step 4: Create A Calm Space In Their Bedroom

Creating a calm space that your child is familiar and comfortable with can assist in the bedtime transition being a simple and positive experience for parent and child alike.

You may like to try the following tips

  1. Dim the lighting in the room so that it could be easier to drift off to sleep.
  2. Depending on your child, you may use a nightlight to help with sleeping in darker environments.
  3. Ensure bedding is fluffed up and comfortable for your child and if they prefer to sleep with a stuffed animal or particular pillow, ensure that is also included in their bedding.

Step 5: Establish Regular Bed And Wake-Up Times

At the heart of the humble bedtime routine’s philosophy is establishing consistency. The goal is to keep bed and wake-up times consistent each day, or as close to.

Try not to vary your little one’s bed or wake-up time by more than 30 minutes. Over time, this may help set their internal body clock (3).

When it’s bedtime, it’s bedtime. Be firm but friendly with your child that the time has now come for them to sleep and emphasise how a good sleep will support them to be ready and energetic for a brand new day of fun in the morning. This may be challenging at first, so you and your child might find it helpful if you stay with them for a minute or two after they have gone to bed to thoroughly tuck them in, and then leave them to doze off.

Although it’s common for children to experience periods of temporary sleeplessness every now and then, if you have any concerns about your child’s sleep, take them to see your friendly GP.

Have you found this information helpful? If so, you may enjoy the following:

Encouraging Healthy Sleeping Habits For Your Baby

How To Put Your Baby To Sleep Safely 

Understanding Baby Sleep Cues: What They Are And How To Support Your Little One

References

  1. Children’s Health Queensland. (2019). Healthy sleep in children. [online] Available at: https://www.childrens.health.qld.gov.au/fact-sheet-healthy-sleep-children/ [Accessed 30 Jun. 2020].
  2. Raising Children Network. (n.d.). Sleep problems and solutions: children and teenagers. [online] Available at: https://raisingchildren.net.au/toddlers/sleep/sleep-problems/sleep-problems-solutions#bedtime-routine-nav-title [Accessed 30 Jun. 2020].
  3. Growing good habits (n.d.). Sleep guidelines. [online] Available at: https://www.growinggoodhabits.health.qld.gov.au/need-to-know/sleep-guidelines/ [Accessed 30 Jun. 2020].

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