What is the best bedtime routine for kids?

The do's and don'ts of creating a foolproof bedtime routine that works

dad telling bedtime story for children's bedtime routine

I know just as well as you do how important it is to develop a calm, orderly bedtime routine. It's a nightly challenge to get our kids to bed — and to make sure they stay there. When they don't get enough sleep, they can't control their emotions and can get hyper. That isn't fun for anyone.

As a fellow parent of three little ones, I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to create a foolproof bedtime routine that works. Check them out below. 

What does a child's bedtime routine involve?

Bedtime routines should include everything your child needs before they get ready for bed. You need to get your children into the mindset of " it's time to go to bed." That means when they know it's time to have a bath or shower, read a bedtime story and get into their comfy pyjamas — they know it's bedtime.

Why's it important to have a routine?

The aim of a good bedtime routine is to encourage your kids to fall asleep on their own, with no need for their parents to sit by as they sleep. Natural sleeping will help your child fall asleep on their own if they do wake up at night. This will ensure both you and your children get a well deserved rest and wake up feeling fresh. 

What's the secret sauce?

As with most things there's sadly no magic formula. All kids are unique and will need individual routines. Mine prefer having a bath and getting into their comfy pyjamas, while others enjoy a bedtime story (and others just need a good cuddle!).  

What you should aim to do:

  • Stick to a routine: As children get older, the time it takes may vary. But the important thing is to keep the routine consistent with every child — no playing favourites! 
  • Keep it simple: There are no magic formulas. Just do what you feel is right for you and the child. When you find something that works, stick with it.
  • Keep them smiling: Kids are very in tune with feelings, emotions and energy. Ensure your children and happy before they go to sleep and promote bedtime as something positive. If it feels like a punishment, they won't get on board.
  • Brush their teeth: It goes without saying a good oral hygiene is a very important habit for every child. The Oral-B Spider-Man toothbrush is a favourite in my house as it makes a boring task a little more fun.
  • Take your kids to the bathroom: You don't want your child to regularly wake up in the night and then wake you up saying they need the bathroom. Avoid this by taking them before they doze off. 
  • Early habits: Old habits die hard as they say. Start early so your child can grow up with a good routine. The later you start, the more difficult it is for them to stick to a routine.
  • Lighting: Some kids prefer blackout and some kids prefer a dull light — do whatever works for your child. My advice is to avoid full on lights. It;s dark for a reason, so aim to keep it that way. 
  • Comfort toy: Some kids like to sleep with toys, teddies or books that make them feel secure. This is okay in moderation so leave them be. You can coach them out of it when they get older.
  • Clean clothes: Everyone loves a fresh pair of clothing. If possible, aim to change pyjamas daily so they stay warm and comfortable. 

What you should aim to avoid?

  • Energy levels: Save high energy activities for the morning. Video games, TV and the like aren't ideal 10-15 minutes prior to sleeping.
  • Expectations: Don't expect your child develop a routine by themselves. Everyone needs guidance, so take the time out to develop a bedtime routine with your kids, not for them.
  • Associations: Standing at the door, sitting by the bed and reading a book until your child is asleep. This is setting an expectation to your kids that you'll always be there to help them fall asleep. Do you really want to be waking up in the middle of the night because you left them to it? 
  • Treats: This is a complete no-go before bed. Trust me, I learnt this the hard way 😬. Treats are counterproductive and will increase energy levels in your child and set incorrect expectations.
  • Dirty pyjamas: Children can wet the bed sometimes u it's just one of those things. But don't avoid taking them to the bathroom before bedtime. More importantly, don't let your child sleep in dirty clothes as it'll make them uncomfortable and will be harder for them to fall asleep.
Take a look at our selection of children's pyjamas that will keep them snug and stylish each night during these colder months.

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published