A bedtime routine for kids can be tricky to implement, but it’s also completely worth the effort. Having a solid bedtime routine can reduce your child’s stress levels (and yours!). It’s also a great time to practice key rituals for promoting relaxation and teaching good sleep habits.
Why a Bedtime Routine for Kids is So Important
Here are three reasons a bedtime routine for kids has a positive impact on their health and wellness:
- It helps your child relax. The right bedtime routine helps your child relax and let go of the day. It signals to their bodies that it’s time to rest and sleep.
- A regular routine helps your child get to sleep faster. Having a simple, consistent routine helps to program your child’s inner clock. They start to expect the practice, and they naturally get tired at bedtime.
- Your child gets that special quality time with you. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life all day long. When you have a bedtime routine, your child can count on that special time with you every night.
6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Bedtime Routine for Kids
Your bedtime routine will be as unique as you and your child are. But there are a few keys that can help you achieve bedtime success:
Timing is Everything
First things first: kids need a lot of sleep! When you start your bedtime routine, it depends on your child’s age, whether they take naps, and when they get up in the morning.
The younger your child is, the more sleep they need. Here’s a rough guide for how much sleep children need at different ages (this includes naps):
- 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours every day
- 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours every day
- 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours every day
Remember, if your young child stops taking naps, they may need extra time added into their nightly sleep.
So if your 4-year-old needs to be awake at 7 am, they need to be asleep by about 8 pm. If your bedtime routine takes about 30 minutes, then make sure it’s started by 7:30 pm.
Keep It Simple (and Consistent)
Simplicity and consistency go together. That’s because it’s much more challenging to be consistent with complicated things! Choose 3-4 steps that work best for you and your child, and then keep that routine consistent.
Start and end the routine at about the same time every night. This also helps your child know what to expect, and they’ll naturally start to relax and be ready for sleep at that time every night.
- Talk to Your Kids About Sleep
Depending on your child’s age, it can help to give a simple explanation about the importance of sleep. Keep it simple if your child is very young. Simply explain that when we sleep, our bodies grow strong and repair themselves. And when we get adequate sleep, we feel happier!
- Add Some Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing exercises are a great way to reduce stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing exercises are very calming and help your child let go of their day so their mind can rest. Just a few minutes of deep breathing practice makes a big difference in stress levels!
Try some of the breathing exercises I recommend here.
Here are some great tips to help you create a breathing routine with your child.
- Try a Massage
Did you know a quick bedtime massage can help your child relax and get to sleep faster? It’s true! Massage helps the body and mind release tension and switch into relaxation mode.
One study showed that a bedtime massage for toddlers actually helped both the child and parent sleep better. Most notably, the children who had a bedtime massage woke up less throughout the night. In the study, parents also felt more optimistic about their bedtime routine and their child’s sleep in general.
- Yes, Bedtime Stories are Still Awesome
Bedtime stories are a great way to help your child calm down at the end of the day. But the benefits don’t stop there! Here are a few more benefits of bedtime stories (source):
- Extra bonding time with your child
- Increased language development and vocabulary
- Develops the imagination and creativity
- Helps develop empathy and compassion
A Sample Bedtime Routine for Kids
Here’s a quick example of a good bedtime routine for kids. The whole routine should take about 30 minutes, but keep it under an hour. If the routine takes too long, it might be hard to stick with on nights when you’re short on time.
- A warm bath for 10-15 minutes.
- A 5-minute massage with all-natural lavender lotion or massage oil.
- Practice deep breathing exercises for 3-5 minutes.
- Read a short bedtime story.
Let’s Raise Connected Kids Together
Ready to learn more tools to improve your child’s emotional wellness? Click here to grab my free ebook and help your child become more calm, connected, and resilient.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. If you are looking to help your child combat stress quickly and effectively, check out my FREE Webinar: How to Reduce your Child’s Anxiety.