Implementing a Bedtime Routine for Children

Becky Scott



Routines are instilled into our everyday life, even as adults. Some people are more rigid in their routine, while others are looser with their day-to-day schedule. However, it is important to understand that routines provide everyone, including children, with stability and predictability. This is particularly true when it comes to bedtime and sleep.


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a study that states children who have a consistent bedtime routine have better sleep outcomes. These improved outcomes include:

· Earlier bedtimes

· Reduced amount of time in bed before falling asleep

· Less night wakings

· Longer sleep duration

· Less sleep problems

· Less daytime behaviour problems


So, What does a Bedtime Routine Look Like??


Bedtime routines do not have to be complicated. They are a sequence of activities that provide your child with a calm and predictable schedule, and will change with your child’s age. A routine will help your child understand that they are preparing for sleep. An easy routine to follow is a bath, brushing teeth and a story before bed.

It can be as simple as bath, teeth brushing and stories or other quiet activities like painting or drawing. It is important to instill a bedtime routine early on in your child’s life- even as early as birth! By 4 months of age they can identify and adapt to a routine before bed, helping them identify cues at a young age. Following your routine, and being consistent is the key to success.



There are many things that you can do as part of your bedtime routine. Here are some ideas to try:

· soothing bath with essential oils

· massage

· brushing teeth

· change into sleep sack, PJ’s and dim lights

· quiet activities

· reading books, singing songs

· talking about the day for older kids


Routines can be as little as 5 mins before naps and 30 mins at bedtime. You will love this quality time with your little one!




FOOTER: Our nap routine for our 10 month old goes like this.... Walk up the stairs saying 'its bedtime', enter her room and turn on her sound machine. Change her diaper and put her in her sleep sack. We than rock in front of her crib and sing 'row your boat' x 2 and then 'twinkle twinkle'. I than place her in her bed, & say goodnight.


For bedtime- I feed her at the beginning before we even go upstairs. We have a bath *with sister*, lotion/massage, diaper/jammies/sleepsack. And than continue with rocking in front of the crib while singing 'row your boat' x 2 and then 'twinkle twinkle'. I than place her in her bed.


Our 2.5 year old- has a bath, story telling (1 story), sing a song, hugs & kisses & a squeeze & 'good-night'


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