by Holly Grogan
EVP of Therapy Services at Brighton Center
Many parents wonder how to get their child to bed and how to keep them in their bed all night. Many children fall asleep anywhere but their own beds at bedtime. Children’s days are filled with lots of play which means they need a few hours of downtime to fall asleep. Bedtime routines are an important step to having your child fall asleep in their bed and staying there all night.
- Pre-Bed Routine should include quiet play without the TV. You can give your child a few signals that it is quiet play time by dimming the lights or playing relaxing music or white noise.
- Time for Bed Routine can include a warm bath, a massage and cuddle time. Remember, as with all Bedtime Routines, this is the time to be consistent. As parents, we want to be sure that we don’t ask “Are you ready for bed”? This allows them to resist bedtime. Instead, we can sing a bedtime song or key words to signal to them that it is time to get in bed.
- In Bed Routine can include reading books, listening to lullabies, prayers or even recapping the fun filled day and planning for the next day. Your child can sleep with a stuffed animal, a lovie, white noise, lullabies, a night light or nothing. Of the Bedtime Routines we’ve discussed, the In Bed Routine is the least physically active. Once stories are read or bedtime talks are finished, say goodnight, and leave the room (AhaParenting.com).
The key is to be consistent. Start the routine early enough so that your child can get at least 10 hours of sleep. Research shows good sleep routines can help your child fall asleep faster, sleep longer and wake up less at night. Bedtime routines can also attribute to parent-child bonding and improves your child’s mood, stress levels and in the long run can translate to school readiness (SleepFoundation.org).