Children have a lot of energy and sometimes this and their active, curious minds, mean bedtime can become a struggle. It is important to develop nightly routines to enable children to wind down from the day and settle into better sleep. Here are six things to consider incorporating into the bedtime routine.
Tidying the Room
At the end of the day, it is time to put away all toys and tidy things up. This gets rid of distractions and your child might enjoy viewing it as putting the toys to bed. Tidying the room also alleviates some tripping hazards during nighttime trips to the bathroom.
Choosing Clothes for Tomorrow
Making preparations for the next day sets the mind at ease before bed. Activities such as choosing clothes also helps set the stage for an easier morning. Preparing for tomorrow can help your kids get ready to settle down for the evening.
Oral hygiene is one of the most important healthy habits to teach your child. Brushing the teeth not only helps to prevent cavities, it also helps to prevent gum disease. Finding a kid-friendly dentist, like those at Claremont Dental Institute, can help your child get more excited about this part of their routine, instead of dreading it. On a subconscious level, teeth brushing can cue the child that it is time to wind down from the day because there won’t be any more eating until morning.
Whether nighttime is bath time or you have your child just wash his face and hands, the act of washing up with warm water can be relaxing. Most people, including children, feel better when clean and the gentle scent of soapy water can have a sedative effect.
One positive way to help your child relax for sleep is to read her a children’s story. Choose positive, age-appropriate books and read just a chapter at a time, unless the book is very short. Story time at bedtime promotes bonding between you and your child and lets her know you care enough to spend that extra time ensuring she will have a better night.
Discussion of Positive Experiences
Ending the day on a positive note can promote more restful sleep and happier dreams. You can help your child in this way by discussing positive events that have happened during the day. It doesn’t need to be anything big. Even small things, like seeing a butterfly or pretty flowers, will count.
Some nightly routines will naturally need to change as the child ages. While habits like teeth brushing will always be important, a child usually won’t need or want story time after a certain age. By the time this occurs, your child will likely have developed sufficiently healthy sleep habits and won’t need stories to relax.