Creating consistent bedtime habits will set the scene for bedtime routines for kids in the future. You must save the last hour before you start your bedtime routine to allow your kid time to relax and unwind. This hour is not the time for roughhousing, action-packed movies or shows, tickle fights, or unruly behavior.
This time will allow your child the time to give their brain the chance to unwind and start the preparation for sleep. This hour is for quiet and relaxing activities. Playing with toys, putting a puzzle together, or doing a coloring page.
Creating a predictable and consistent bedtime routine will help your little one know what to expect at the end of the day. Knowing what to expect will provide your child with comfort and security, which will promote a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep is key for everyone, especially kids.
Here at Twin Cities Kids Club, we are here to give you all the tips and tricks for a successful bedtime routine for kids.
Consistency is Key
Pick a bedtime that aids with your child’s circadian rhythm. When it is beginning to get dark outside, your child will naturally start to feel tired. Begin the routine thirty minutes to an hour before the actual time that you would like your child to be asleep.
It is essential to stick to your bedtime, even if your child does not “appear to be tired.” According to WebMD, if you allow your child to stay up too late, it can cause them to become overly tired. Consequently releasing the stress hormone, cortisol, and make it harder for them to sleep through the night.
Have a Bedtime Chart
One way to motivate your toddler for bedtime is to have a bedtime chart. You can have pictures for “bath time,” “brush teeth,” and “PJs.” Let them stick a sticker on their chart after they complete each task.
Give a Bedtime Warning
Toddlers start to have meltdowns when they feel like they have no control over a situation. One way to avoid future bedtime tantrums is by giving a five-minute warning before bedtime. Let them know that night is quickly approaching and its time to wrap up what they are doing.
You can set a timer that can act as an impartial 3rd party, and will let your child know that their time is up, and it is time to start getting ready for bed.
During this time is when you can start your bedtime routine. You can have your little one tidy up any left out toys or begin to draw the bath.
One Last Snack
Making sure that your child has a full stomach before bed can help them stay asleep longer and keep their body regulated until breakfast. It would be best if you offered a snack that is high in protein and low in carbs.
The carbohydrates will help make them sleepy, while the protein will keep them full through the night.
Draw a Warm Bath
Giving your child a warm bath before bed will help by raising their body temperature. The rise in body temperature will help promote sleepiness. The warm water will also help them relax and can ease their muscles before bedtime.
Bath time is the perfect time to use a lavender bedtime wash. The aromatherapy will help your child relax and switch gears to bedtime mode.
Dress Them Comfortably
Pick a bedtime outfit that is neither too loose or too constricting. The pajamas should also be an appropriate material for the weather. Ensuring that your child’s pajamas are appropriate will guarantee that they get a night of well-rested sleep.
Another way to soothe your child and prepare them for sleep is to read one of their favorite stories. Reading helps them relax right before bed, and they will be thrilled to have a few more minutes together before sleeping.
How much time you chose to spend reading books before bedtime is at your discretion. Or instead of books, this could be time spent singing a favorite bedtime song.
A Bedtime Friend
A favorite stuffed animal or blanket can provide your child with comfort and security. Having a bedtime buddy can be especially helpful to a child who suffers from separation anxiety.
Inform your child you have to leave their room. Reassure them that their bedtime friend is there to take your place. Having something they can snuggle throughout the night can help with the transition of wakefulness to sleep.
Create a Bedtime Playlist
Having a speaker or some sort of white noise machine in your child’s bedroom can help set the mood for perfect sleeping conditions. The music will help them drift off to sleep and stay asleep longer. Keep the volume at a low and peaceful level.
You want it loud enough for them to hear and enjoy, but not loud enough to keep them awake at night and stimulate them.
Ban Bedtime Bottles
If your child still likes to fall asleep with a bottle at night, it is time to ban any bottles from the bedroom. It is essential to eliminate bottles filled with milk or juice. Milk and juice can pool up around the teeth causing cavities and tooth decay, including in infants.
If your child still needs milk before bed, make sure your child finishes their bottle before you put them to bed. Spirit Dental has written an informative article filled with tips to prevent bottle rot and incorporating them into your bedtime routine.
Maintain Short Parting “Good-nights”
Once you are ready to leave your child’s bedroom so they can go to bed, ensure that you do not say “goodnight” and then remain in the room. Say your good-nights and close the door.
If your child starts to scream to come back and play or read more books, it can be hard for you as a parent. The best way to eliminate bedtime tantrums is to stay consistent and let them know that it is time for bed. You don’t have to ignore them, but don’t give into the demands or they won’t stop.
The critical factor in eliminating all bedtime battles is staying on a schedule and maintaining consistency. Young children thrive on schedules and enjoy structure.
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