I am a believer in bedtime routines, especially for children. If you do not have one for your child then I suggest that you get one right away. Seriously, in the beginning, it may be a bit difficult to get them to follow through. However, if you stay consistent with it then your child most likely will adapt and want to follow their bedtime routine each night.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, establishing a nightly bedtime routine significantly reduces sleep difficulties for infants and toddlers, such as the number of night wakings that occur. Not only will a routine improve a child’s sleep, but a mother’s well-being since feeling fatigued or depressed can decrease. Another impact that late or irregular bedtimes can have on children are behavioral difficulties. On NPR.org, it is stated that an inconsistent bedtime is compared to a child having jet-lag. This can cause a child to act out more, hit others, become emotionally withdrawn or not get along with peers.
I started a bedtime routine with my son when he was about five months old. Then when my daughter was born my son’s routine did change. It was my fault though because a lot of times I was so tired from handling a newborn that I would just let him fall asleep downstairs with me. As my daughter got a little older and started to sleep through the night our routine started to get back to normal and then she was included.
My kids love their bedtime routine. So much that if I try to bypass a step my son will remind me and say something like, “Wait mom, we didn’t read our book yet.” It really does run smoothly. We usually start between 8pm and 8:30pm and the kids are asleep by 9pm at the latest. They know that at the end of the bedtime routine that they are expected to go to sleep. Once I close their door I may hear them talking a bit, but it doesn’t last that long. Most days as soon as the door closes it is silent.
Having a bedtime routine ensures that your child is getting the amount of rest that they need each night. It minimizes the risk of sleep and/or behavioral problems that can occur as a result of inconsistent bedtimes. It is also good for the parent because you plan this out to be a part of your schedule. Therefore, if there is something that you want to do or need to wind down yourself when the kids are asleep having a bedtime routine makes it easier.
Below you can download a printable of our bedtime routine. Feel free to print and incorporate this into your child’s bedtime routine.
Sidenote: Goodnight snuggles are what my children like to go to sleep with. For my daughter, it is her blankets and for my son, it is a shirt of mine and my husband’s.
Does your child have a goodnight snuggle? Please share in the comment section below.