Nailing down nighttime routine habits for kids that are simple, calming, and consistent is the foundation for healthy sleep.
Surprisingly, it may take time to realize developing nighttime routine habits for kids does not happen automatically.
Successful home management involves lots of planning, preparation, and routines.
I’ve learned by experience how vital a solid bedtime plan is to help avoid nighttime chaos and what’s required for my children to get the sleep they need.
Today, I want to share the most effective steps we took in creating a predictable nighttime routine.
But first, let’s talk about why sleep is so important anyway.
3 Reasons Why Sleep Is Important for Children
1. Recharges The Brain
Every child’s brain needs quality, adequate sleep to recharge and help keep the mind alert.
Daytime naps and deep sleep at night increase healthy brain function for children, such as better attention span, retaining learned information, and help improve overall learning.
Children who are consistently well rested are usually more creative, have more extended concentration skills, and have better problem-solving abilities.
2. Keep Children Healthier
Sleep will help your child’s brain eliminate toxic waste accumulated throughout the day.
The brain and body’s nerve cells repair themselves during sleeping hours.
A child’s healthy sleep schedule helps maintain a healthy immune system.
Also, well-rested children show fewer signs of irritability.
3. Regulate Emotions
Proper sleep will help your child be in a better mood throughout the day.
Children function better and are more likely to make better decisions with adequate rest.
Studies also show that children have better relationships with family and friends when they are well-rested.
Sleep can help children improve emotional processing, reduce anxiety, and better handle frustration, anger, confusion, and depression.
Nighttime Routine Habits For Kids
Most parents would agree that getting the kids settled and down for the evening is a pivotal part of the day.
But every household’s nighttime routine will probably look slightly different depending on your child’s needs.
Here are 8 of the most common and most effective tips for getting the kids in bed each night:
- Make sure children have plenty of time for play and activities during the day that will allow them to exert usual childhood energy.
- Keep children’s naps earlier in the day.
- Avoid late dinners.
- Start your child’s bedtime routine and wind down at least one hour before you want them asleep. (Especially if you have multiple children)
- Create a simple bedtime routine.
- Brush teeth
- Bedtime story
- Prayers / snuggles / final questions or conversations for the night
- Kiss goodnight
6. Use blackout curtains, shades, or blinds.
7. Keep a consistent bedtime.
8. Use a nightlight, radio, or sound machine if needed.
How Can I Improve My Kid’s Bedtime Routine?
If you’re new to creating an intentional bedtime routine for your children, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lost at exactly where to get started.
Or maybe you have a bedtime routine that is not working, and you’re wondering exactly what needs to be improved to help make your child’s bedtime routine more calming.
I would encourage any parent struggling with their bedtime routine to practice consistency first.
Keeping a bedtime routine that is predictable, simple, and consistent is what helps the routine work.
Once you have gotten a good handle on staying consistent with your child’s bedtime routine, slowly add additional parts to the routine that are important to you and your child.
For example, instead of reading only one book, you may be ready to read two short stories before bed.
Another step you can take towards improving your child’s bedtime is keeping it simple.
Try to include steps in your child’s bedtime routine that you can maintain most nights, even when you’re tired.
Short and simple will be more impactful than long and inconsistent.
What are the recommended hours of sleep for children?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep is essential for optimal health in children and adolescents.
Here are the consensus recommendations:
More Help With Nighttime Routine Habits For Kids
Bedtime In A Box is an organization in Maryland with a mission to “… improve childhood learning & health for families, regardless of income.”
Bedtime In A Box is committed to equipping families with tools to help them create a healthy foundation for a good night’s sleep bedtime routine for children.
These bedtime and educational kits are loaded with supplies to help any parent get the evening started to help soothe their child’s sleep.
Bedtime In A Box has considered components of a child’s nighttime routine that will help them feel comforted and loved while also nurturing the minds and imagination of children.
Each kit includes:
- 5 Age-appropriate books
- Bath wash
- Bath towel
- Bath toys
- Stuffed animals
- Alarm clock
- A complete educational learning kit
You can purchase your own Bedtime In A Box for your child within the infant, toddler, preschool, or kindergarten age range.
A portion of the proceeds from every purchase goes towards providing boxes for families in need.
As a mom, I love the mission and vision of this wonderful organization because it shows they care and understand every aspect of a bedtime routine that’s important for children.
Bedtime In A Box accepts also accepts donations.
When should you start a nighttime routine?
It doesn’t matter if you have a newborn and you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding her to sleep; think about a simple song you may want to sing, extra kisses you may want to give, or a special chair you sit in each night.
Or maybe you have a toddler who loves wearing their favorite pajamas, sleeping with a special stuffy, or insist on a kiss, a hug, and an extended session of “I love you more” exchanged.
If you’re at the preschool stage, your bedtime routine may consist of a collection of favorite bedtime stories that “must” be read each night, per your little one’s request.
Starting a bedtime routine for school-aged children may include 5 minutes of journaling before the lights go out.
And if you’re wondering should teens have nighttime routines; the verdict is yes. For example, teens may enjoy using special nighttime facial cleaners or creams, ensuring their alarm clocks are set or having one last nighttime conversation with you before they finally sleep.
No matter your parenting stage, it’s not too late to begin or reconstruct an effective nighttime routine for your child.
Don’t be shy about communicating this to your child by letting them know as a family you’re helping everyone get in bed each night; more comfortable and more consistently is now a household priority.
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I can’t stress enough why it’s so important to have a nighttime routine! especially during the school year. I would say that regulating your emotions is something that we should do in the mornings and before going to bed everyday. Thanks for sharing
Great perspective. I totally agree with you!