Bed Time Routine
1. During the day, where possible, ensure your child has access to lot of activities and natural day light. Though you may think of the bed time routine as the time you start getting into pyjamas, consider the activities that lead up to that time as having a role too. The start of preparing your children for sleep often starts after dinner. A bed time routine is all about preparing your child to be able to fall asleep at the right time.
2. TV off! Turn the TV off, keep ipads, phones and all screens off for at least 1 hour before you want your child to go to sleep. Blue light is emitted from these screens which prevent the production of melatonin (our sleepy hormone).
3. Lights lowered, curtains drawn, quiet play. The release of melatonin (the sleepy hormone) is triggered by darkness. Playing low key games with your child such as puzzles, stories, colouring will help them to relax.
4. Bath time! From this point you want to be no longer than 45 minutes until they're in bed. Once you leave the living area and go upstairs, don't go back! Alongside light and dark, your body temperature also has an impact on your production of melatonin. The lowering of your body temperature as you get out of a warm bath signals to your brain it is time for sleep. At this time your child will also use the toilet/potty, brush their teeth.
5. Bedroom. After the bath, go straight into the bedroom. Have your child’s bedroom prepared before they go in; curtains closed, small light on, bed/cot made, any comforter they sleep with ready, pyjamas laid out ready to put on.
6. Story time. Once they are in their pyjamas, sit with them and read some stories together. Having a set number of stories to read each night can help prevent the pleas for just one more! Once finished turn lights out, give them a big kiss and a cuddle... and they should now be ready to...
One thing that can have the best result is to just be in that moment. Don't think about all the things that you need to get done once they are asleep, or needing that well earned glass of wine... Keep calm and take your time. The more you try and rush it, the longer it will take! Our little ones pick up on our mood so much more than we often realise. Slow down, enjoy that time with them at the end of the day and soon you'll all enjoy the bed time routine.
We know that each family is different and this is simply a guide, you may want to adapt certain things to suit you; not everyone will want a bath every night for example, you might want to factor tidy up time into step 3, you might sing songs instead of reading stories in step 6. The key point is the consistency, that your child begins to associate their routine with sleep time and that your routine becomes an enjoyable part of the day for the whole family.
We also know that this is sometimes easier said than done, please contact us if you would like a conversation about the sleep support packages we offer.