What is bedtime like in your home? Is it a peaceful wind down to a busy day or a little more on the chaotic side? Having a bedtime routine isn’t just ideal for children but for adults too! Last week we examined creating a Morning Routine to Start Your Day Off Right; this week we are looking at how families can create a great bedtime routine for the other end of their day. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Decide on a Bedtime – When creating an evening routine it is important to decide what is an appropriate time to go to bed. Harvard Medical School reports that each age requires a varying amount of sleep. Based upon the time that your child needs to arrive at school and the amount their body needs, families can make an informed decision on what is an appropriate time for bedtime. Parents should take into consideration things like activities, lessons, playdates, sports and homework when deciding on a time. Here are the recommended amounts:
- Infants: 12 to 16 hours (including naps)
- Toddlers: 11 to 14 hours (including naps)
- Preschoolers: 10 to 13 hours (including naps)
- Grade school-aged children: 9 to 12 hours
- Teens: 8 to 10 hours
Have a Power Down Time – Right before bed is not a good time to be playing video games, or using technology. Give your brain a chance to disconnect and relax before it is time for sleep. During this time children might enjoy reading with or to their parents or a sibling, packing up their backpack or deciding what to wear the next day. These simple routines can give your body a chance to prepare for sleep. Researchers have found that the blue light emitted from screens can wake up the brain and make it harder to fall asleep. This is particularly true for “small screens” such as phones or tablets that are held closer to the face. In addition to shutting down at least an hour before bed, it is advisable to have children and teens plug their devices in away from their room so they are not tempted to hop on to check something or answer a text they hear come in.
A Bedtime List – Just like a list can help in the morning, a list of items that should be completed nightly can be helpful to even for the youngest school age children. Create a visual that marks off all the things you would like your child to complete before lights out including: brushing teeth, going to the bathroom, putting on pjs, putting laundry in the basket and so on. Knowing what is expected is half the battle.
Have an Evening Ritual – This last part of a good bedtime routine may be different for every family. Choose an evening ritual that signals that now is the time for bed whether it is “tucking in,” reading a story or two, saying prayers or just snuggling and talking about the day. This ritual signals the body that sleep is near.
What is your bedtime routine in your home? Share these ideas with your child and design an evening that will be conducive to a good night’s sleep. Good night!