Establishing a bedtime routine for kids has many benefits for both parents and kids. But how do you go about locking down that routine? Here are a few tips.
As tempting as it might be to let a child stay up late on weekends when they don’t have school early the next morning, sticking with their weekly is best. When they do stay up late, wake them at the same time so their body doesn’t adapt to a different schedule. If bedtimes become too randomized during stretches like weekends or summers, sleep patterns could shift, resulting in poorer sleep.
Have Your Child Actually “Get Ready” For Bed
The majority of the time, even the most sleep-conscious adults aren’t able to completely flip the switch from “day mode” to “sleep mode.” Everyone needs time to wind down, shake off the day, and relax the body so that sleep comes easier. Children are the same. Studies show that any vigorous activity should stop about 60-90 minutes before the planned bedtime to allow the heart rate to slow down and give the body time to transition into “sleep mode.”
Adopt a Pattern
You should encourage a pattern for bedtime. This could include a bath, getting changed into pajamas, brushing teeth, story time, or other relaxing activities. No matter what the routine is, it should ideally last between 20 and 30 minutes. Studies have shown that children will start making psychological and physical associations with these necessary, but mundane routines, that help them calm down for sleep.
Sleep is important, and the lead-up to actually getting to bed is just as crucial. Not only will a consistent routine help kids sleep better and be healthier and happier, but it will hopefully create fewer arguments about going to bed, making evening a pleasant time for your whole family.