If you have heard it once, you have heard it a thousand times. Bedtime routines are extremely important for everyone throughout all ages and stages of life. That rings true, especially for your children. Lack of sleep isn’t just an issue for busy adults, in fact kids of all ages can fall victim to sleep debt.
It affects both their behavior and development. The truth of the matter is, routines can help to instill healthy sleep habits. Plus, allows for your children to predict what comes next, and minimize the dreaded bedtime battles.
When bedtime routines are put into action at a very young age, there are noticeable benefits.
Why Sleep is Important
It is very clear why getting a good night’s sleep is essential, but it isn’t fully understood. Many different and important things happen while our children sleep. Muscle growth, tissue repair and so many more amazing things change literally over night. If your child isn’t getting the right amount of sleep, it can not only affect their development and growth, but it can also affect their behavior.
Routines for Young Kids
Nightly rituals can help to ease separation anxiety in young children. Participating in a nightly bedtime story, or relaxing in a soothing bath, are great ways to help your children settle down before bed and get some quality time together. Consistency is really the name of the game. If children know that bedtime is coming, they are much less likely to fight it when there is a routine in place, encouraging them to fall asleep faster.
There are many ways to put a bedtime routine in place. Remember to be consistent and predictable and participate in soothing activities.
- Shut off the TV – Screen time right before bed can have a negative impact on your children’s sleep schedule. It is beneficial to turn off the screens at least 1 hour before bedtime.
- Hygiene– Brush teeth and hair before you start the rest of the routine. Make sure your little ones use the bathroom before they crawl into bed.
- Bath time – Run a nice warm bath for your little one and allow them to soak and relax.
- Story time – Read a story with your little one.
- Sing songs – I like to have the same song as our last song before getting into bed. PIck an individual song for each child so they can have their “signature song”.
Some items that can help:
The best thing about bedtime routines is that they can really be personalized. Do what works for your family and your schedule, just make sure that whatever order you do the routine in, you stick to that nightly.
When to Start Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine can be started at any age. When my babies were just 2 weeks old I made sure to do the same things in order when I was trying to get them to sleep. At that age they sleep a lot but I tried to sing the same song when they were falling asleep so they would associate the song with sleep.
Children thrive on predictability. Having a bedtime routine is a fantastic way to ensure that they are getting the sleep they need to grow and develop, but they are also crucial to your child’s behavior. When your children know that bedtime is coming, through a routine, they are less likely to fight it and able to fall asleep faster and more efficiently. Having a routine is incredibly important to all aspects of your little ones life, and also gives you, as parents, a chance to unwind and have a little much needed “me time.”
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