Babies have their own schedule but as your child gets older and can do more for himself, bedtime can become a long, drawn-out scenario that wears parents out. Make it easier by establishing a bedtime routine so that when your child hears, “Time for bed, let’s get ready,” your child knows exactly what happens next. Remember that kids do well with routines and order. They like it. Develop a system that works and stick to it! You, yourself, also have to keep to the schedule which means let the phone ring without answering so you are available to help and be there for that all important tucking-into-bed time.
TIPS FOR ESTABLISHING A BEDTIME ROUTINE
–With your child, make a chart of what should be done at bedtime. Your child will then have a visual clue that he can follow. This should help in avoiding any debate, procrastination or reminders.
–Allow for winding-down time before the bedtime ritual begins. A calm child will follow the routine more easily than one who has been running around excitedly for the past hour.
–Keep bedtime consistent. If it’s 7:00 p.m., try to make it 7:00 p.m. all the time, even on weekends.
–Allow for tidying-up time. Start this process earlier if your child is a dawdler.
–Do the same things in the same order all the time. e.g., bath, teeth brushing, pajamas, bedtime story. This is not a rigid rule, but try to keep the routine similar.
–If there is a story time before bed, you be in charge of the story. Your child should be relaxed and listening rather than trying to tell the story in his own words or adding his ideas to it. This is usually a very good thing but if you want your child to go to sleep, then don’t add any stimulation that will keep him alert.
–Make it a rule that if your child is in bed when he should be, there will be a story. Otherwise, the bedtime routine will be drawn out until you are worn out.
–If all has gone well the night before, praise your child in the morning for preparing for bed so well.
A bedtime routine for children is important although it does take effort, time and patience on your part before it runs smoothly. Keep at it and don’t give up. Eventually, you will find that the routine will minimize hassles and help to create a calming atmosphere that will have a positive effect on your child’s bedtime behavior.
If you have any thoughts or ideas that will help other parents in establishing a bedtime routine, please use the Comment Section below.