4 Ideas that Can Help Establish Smooth Bedtime Routines

Getting children to bed in a timely way can be a challenge. Here are four ideas that can help.

1. Play actively with children for as long as you can before getting them ready for bed. Indoor or outdoor games that get parent and child moving can be a particularly good way to spend time together, expend energy and have fun. This kind of play right before bed can be over stimulating to a tired little one but enjoying engaging fun together before bedtime routines begin can “tire out” a child and fulfill every young person’s need to have daily quality time with their mom and/or dad.

2. Keep bedtime rituals quiet and calm. Reading, story telling, or quiet talks about the day help children relax and get ready to fall asleep. Any tension or agitation (even if playful) can easily make it harder for a child to settle down for the night.

3.Discuss bedtime plans before the end of the day when frayed nerves and exhaustion talk hold. Parents should discuss routines with each other and/or their children (if old enough) during a relatively relaxed time of day. Reaching agreements ahead of time can help parents be realistic and clear about their plans for the evening and help children understand what is expected.

4.Remember some children don’t go to bed easily and parents often have to weather a few storms before achieving a bedtime that works well for everyone. A child’s upset does not necessarily mean parents should change their long-term plan for a restful evening. Some children need time to get used to a routine that they don’t like. Parents of older young ones can offer a reward to encourage or appreciate their little one for accomplishing this sometimes-challenging goal. The best reward is often some super fun playtime a while before bedtime or the following morning with Mom or Dad. Of course the ultimate reward is actually a relaxing and manageable bedtime routine for the entire family.