Thursday, March 15, 2018

Importance of a Nighttime Routine for Children (Guest Post)

             Hey folks! Last week we had a guest post on ways to make transitioning a child from a crib to a toddler bed easier. This week I have another bedtime-related post: The importance of a bedtime routine for children and tips on making it less stressful and more pleasant for everyone!

            No matter how tired they might be, children seem to never want to go to bed. As parents, we're sure you've heard every possible excuse as to why they should get to stay up just that little bit later, but with an efficient bedtime routine putting your child to bed will no longer feel like a battle every single night.
            Childhood is the most important time in a person's life for mental and physical development, and ensuring your child gets enough rest at night is vital for their health (both short and long term). Children need more sleep than adults, and the younger they are the more they will require.
            Introducing a bedtime routine means a sense of structure will be added to your evenings, and parents will find they have much more control over how many hours of sleep their child will receive.
            Well-rested children are also known to function much more efficiently, and sleep deprivation can have damaging effects. Just as adults often find it hard to concentrate after a bad night's sleep, children will struggle too.

Instilling good behaviour

Bedtime routines are a great way to improve your bond with your child, teaching respect and trust at an early age. This basic form of self-discipline can do wonders in later life, and it's a ritual that can continue long into their teens.

If your children are irritable or hyperactive, they may be showing signs of sleep deprivation. A strict bedtime routine may be the key to preventing this bad behaviour.

With enough rest, it's more likely that your child will wake up happy and refreshed. This means you'll be left facing an alert and (hopefully) cheery child in the morning, rather than a grumpy kid who probably wishes they'd gone to bed a lot earlier (even though they'll never admit it!)

Set a time, and stick to it

Choose an appropriate bedtime for your child, and don't stray from it. This creates a solid foundation for the rest of the routine, and once your child learns that you're unlikely to budge on their bedtime, their pleas for 'five more minutes' will begin to decrease.

As we've mentioned, a bedtime routine ensures your child gets enough sleep every night. Make sure you send them to bed early enough - once children become overtired the stress hormone (cortisol) is released into the body, causing restlessness and making it difficult for them to sleep.

Bathroom basics

After dinner, begin settling your child down for the night. While bath time can be great fun, try to keep the splashing and squealing to a minimum. Keep the water warm, try adding a soothing, child-friendly bubble bath and make sure their towel and pyjamas are nice and toasty.

Follow up by asking your child to take two more steps: wash their face and brush their teeth. Each step will quickly become a signal that will subconsciously remind your child that it's almost time for sleep.

Provide a warning

If you choose not to send your child straight to bed after their bath, don't forget to give them a bedtime warning. This can be 30, 20 or even 10 minutes before it's time for your child to go to sleep - whatever you think works best.

Giving them notice helps to instill the routine and lets your child know you haven't forgotten that bedtime is looming!

Time to wind down

Whether you're in the lounge or the bedroom, dim the lights and silence any loud noises - replace the TV with relaxing music and speak quietly. Over-stimulation can prevent children from feeling tired and make sleeping difficult.

Say no to technology

Depending on their age, you might be finding it difficult to tear your kids away from their tech too. Put boundaries into place, and make sure your children know when it's time to put their tablet or phone away. Give them a separate warning for this, and repeat every night.

Make things comfortable

Help your child feel at ease, and comfort them with a bedtime story or a lullaby. If they have a favourite toy, or some other kind of security blanket, keep this on hand too.
Most importantly, never forget that repetition is key. Carry out your bedtime routine in the same order, at the same time, every evening!

Be sure to check out Maria's blog at Life of Mum and follow her parenting adventures on Instagram.

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party


  1. Our little one thrives on schedules (for now) and we appreciate it so much! I am not looking forward to her breaking that in a few years but these are great tips for getting back on track if we fall off the wagon!
    Thanks for sharing on #FabFridayPost

  2. Saying no to technology to a hard one for Ethan, especially when we are out all day to have fun and then all he wanted is some Pad time when we come back very late. But yesterday, I stood my ground and said no to screen time. He fell asleep within 10 mins. It was such a relief. lol!

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost