Creating an effective nighttime routine for your child is essential and can significantly improve their quality of sleep, focus during the day, and overall happiness. Numerous studies have shown that children who maintain consistent bedtime routines regularly get more restful and longer sleep than those without a regular sleep schedule.
A set routine will also help to create structure in the evenings, leading to a calmer household environment where everyone can wind down after a busy day in preparation for tomorrow’s events. Herein, we explain why implementing a nightly routine should be at the top of your list as a parent and how best to go about it – taking into consideration things like age or developmental stage, lifestyle goals/factors in addition to balancing screen-time versus unwinding time while still creating time daily for family connection which is so important!
Why Build a Nighttime Routine for Your Child?
You may do a lot for your kid’s health and well-being by establishing a bedtime routine. A healthy night’s sleep is crucial for a developing child’s body and mind, laying the groundwork for future achievements in academics, parenting, and interpersonal relationships.
Your child’s ability to maintain healthy routines like going to bed at the same time every night, reading, doing homework, and getting up at the same time every morning, all have positive effects on his or her health and well-being. You can introduce some fun to the routine such as the brush, book, and bed! Brushing teeth before bed is the first step in teaching even the youngest children how to take care of their teeth and gums properly. This simple nightly routine will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of dental wellness.
To help you ensure your child’s great oral health, you can consult a pediatric dentist in Falls Church, VA.
Consistent ‘lights out’ times can help your child’s natural circadian rhythm/biological clock adjust its internal cues, resulting in fewer challenges with insomnia and other sleep-related issues as they enter adulthood. In addition, it encourages mental discipline, which will help them avoid procrastinating throughout their academic careers by helping them distinguish between their work and their free time.
Having a nightly “cool down period” before lights out teaches emotional self-control, which helps kids not only deal with their emotions at the moment but also predict how they’ll behave in challenging situations, which helps them become better problem solvers in the long run.
The change from one state to another, such as being awake to sleeping, or from “at school’ mindset” to “home relaxing time,” can be stressful for certain people. Finally, it promotes independence because kids get a taste of freedom well before adolescence by learning about structure/schedules instead of being dependent on caretakers throughout all stages of development.
5 Ways to Build Your Child’s Nighttime Routine
1. Work together as a team.
You and your partner should get down and figure up a plan for getting the baby to sleep, and then stick to it. If you don’t, don’t expect your kid to improve or learn anything.
If your child is old enough to understand, include them in the process by discussing the new plan for how they will sleep. Help your young child adjust to the new schedule with the use of a visual chart depicting activities like getting dressed, brushing teeth, and reading a book.
2. Start your child’s bedtime routine at the right time.
Next to the first step, this is crucial. Regularly putting your kids to bed at a reasonable hour will significantly reduce the number of fights you have with them before bed.
Does your three-year-old ever go to bed at 5:30 p.m. and wake up at 7:30 a.m.? They will need an early bedtime if they are no longer taking naps and waking up between 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning. Because of this graph, it’s easy to see why. (A growth spurt is another possible explanation).
Unlike adults, children have very varied sleep requirements and circadian cycles. Their requirements will shift slightly as they experience growth spurts, but generally speaking, you’ll be able to tell if your child is on the high or low end of the spectrum.
In that case, how many hours of sleep should your children be getting each night? Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, including naps, should be obtaining 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Six to twelve-year-olds need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep per night.
A sleep routine for your child is essential and should begin well before they turn 6. Why? Well, nighttime rituals foster healthy sleeping patterns, and healthy sleeping patterns have great physical, mental, and emotional outcomes. Youngsters who obtain the recommended amount of sleep have better immune systems, can concentrate better, and control their emotions better than their sleep-deprived peers, according to Stanford Health.
3. Make sure your child feels safe at night
Even if your child is afraid of the dark or going to bed, you may encourage them to face their fears by praising and rewarding them whenever they show courage. Likewise, staying away from terrifying media like movies, TV shows, and video games can assist. When children have trouble falling asleep, having a night light on can help ease their anxiety.
4. Offer limited choices.
Let your child have some say in the order of events leading up to bedtime, but don’t let them dictate the duration of the ritual. Give them options; give them a choice between two sets of pajamas; give them a choice of what to read.
5. Turn off the electronics.
Your child can benefit from some conscious screen time throughout the day, but it’s not good for them to do so after bedtime. Keep in mind that you should turn off all screens at least one hour before bedtime. Your child’s brain will naturally produce more melatonin when you remove him or her from exposure to blue light from devices. Your child’s sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a hormone, so if you give it to them, they may begin to wind down on their own and be better prepared for bedtime.
You may try something different instead of your usual nightly routine of watching TV or reading through social media before turning it in. Before you start the rest of the nighttime routine, it’s a good idea to take a little stroll, play a calming game, or tidy up the house for 15 minutes.
If your child is persistent on media consumption before bed, try to incentivize or implement a positive reinforcement by letting them watch their favorite kid detective movies the next day if they follow through with their routine.
Mindful quiet time, such as that achieved through yoga or even just some simple stretches, is another good idea.
You can’t go wrong as long as you focus on calming your youngster down instead of getting them worked up.