For children's physical and mental well-being, it's crucial to establish a regular sleeping schedule. A consistent bedtime and wake-up time can help regulate a child's internal clock and make it easier for them to fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day.
A bedtime routine should include activities that are calming, such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Additionally, it's essential to create a peaceful sleeping environment with the right bedding, temperature, and amount of light and noise. It's recommended that children get 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night, and teenagers get about 8 to 10 hours.
Below are seven tips to help you create a positive sleep routine for your child.
Start with yourself and add a proper schedule to your day
Being a parent can be hard on days when you are swamped with work, children, household chores, and other things. However, children learn from the examples set by the adults around them. Seeing their parents multitask around the house and try to fit multiple things in at once may directly or indirectly affect them.
If your kids don’t yet have a proper sleep routine, we’d highly recommend you sort out your day with a schedule and checklist. Make a list of to-dos every day, ideally, the night before for the next day or early in the morning before your kids wake up. It will help you get through the tasks without being forgetful.
For more information, you can also read our prior blog post (Parenting tips and hacks to help your A-game every day).
Start the routine at a fixed place every day – like their bedroom
To gradually introduce your children to a bedtime routine, it is important that you start from one particular place in the house—ideally their bedroom. Getting younger kids to bed is sometimes difficult; however, we’d recommend you avoid trying to get them to sleep all over the house. Using a certain room at home will condition them to think that the bedroom is a place to rest and sleep. And it is now time for them to go to bed.
Dedicate some time to unwind and bond with your child before bed
Speak to your child, talk to them about their day and tell them about yours, read them some bedtime stories, and create a soothing ambience that will help them fall asleep faster. Relaxing them before bed will help them unwind and get a good night’s sleep.
Make them take charge of their sleep schedule and bedtime routine
Kids love it when they think they are in control. Making young children responsible for their daily routine is a great way to teach them independence and discipline.
Introduce them to a chart like the one below and let them positively play a part in their own sleep schedule while feeling good about completing the required tasks. All this, while you subtly oversee and guide their actions.
Chart credits: Pinterest/TheTripClip
Be consistent and take turns tucking the kids in
As much as it is important to start the routine at a fixed place every day, it is equally important to be consistent with the time they go to sleep. Letting them know about their respective bedtimes will only help convince them and let them wrap up their playtime before bed.
Additionally, taking turns tucking the child in and following the same routine will help both parents equally bond and spend quality time with your little ones.
Encourage them to be creative and introduce them to the world of imagination
Children are extremely creative. They have a world of characters in their heads, and their imagination has no boundaries. Help them relax by calming them down with some soothing examples that they can imagine. Read them some books, tell them some stories, and simultaneously make up some stories of your own with them as the main characters. While this is a little easier with older kids, there is no harm in introducing infants and toddlers to bedtime stories and visuals. This shared activity is great for your kids, irrespective of their age, as it will foster creativity, help them emote better, and broaden their horizons.
Remind them that you love them and focus on positive affirmations
As you finally get them to sleep, remind them every day that they are loved, cared for, and looked after. They are important, and both mummy and daddy love them very much. Regularly speaking positive affirmations to them will boost their morale. It will also help them grow, knowing that their parents care for them, are attentive, and have been vocal about their feelings.
Lastly, end their night with a good night kiss and a hug or a cuddle or two.