As a mom of soon to be 5 and 7 year old energetic boys, I had to find a bedtime routine that was fuss free and not incredibly long. I mean, mama wants a few quiet moments before she sleeps too. I’m sharing what works for us in today’s post.
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BEDTIME NO NOs
A few things to avoid when creating a good bedtime routine:
Screen Time Close to Bedtime
Blue light from televisions, computer screens, and tablets can suppress melatonin levels and typically causes your mind to be more alert and awake. Try ending screen time 30 min to 2 hours before bedtime.
Sugar and Caffeine
With caffeine being a stimulant, it can make it hard to fall asleep. Consuming sugar before bedtime can make it difficult to stay asleep. Sugar before bedtime can lead to restless sleep which disrupts the phase of sleep associated with healing, restoration, and immunity.
Late Nap Hours
If your child naps later in the afternoon, he/she may be too energized for an earlier bedtime.
EASY BEDTIME ROUTINE
This has worked so well for me. As a single mom, I put both my 4 and 6 year old to bed without a partner to help. Yours may look quite similar.
OTHER BEDTIME TIPS FOR A FUSS FREE ROUTINE
A dark, quiet space is going to help create an environment better suiting for falling asleep so avoid having much noise or bright lights going on near their room. I have all main lights out, but these are our favorite low light night lights. We have a couple in the bedroom and boys' bathroom.
Giving kids a heads up helps them know what’s coming up
Let them have choices (like a book or song) so that they feel like they are part of the routine and not just subject to being told what to do. They will be more willing to participate in the bedtime routine. Some of our favorite books we read over and over are The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, and How Do Dinosaurs..series.
Create a "game" out of things - I have two different toothpaste flavors for my kids. My younger son loves to play “guess which toothpaste I used” by having me smell his breath after he brushes. Try, "guess which pajama set I'll put on" to get them to get dressed. Make it enjoyable.
Be patient and present. I love connecting with my boys at bedtime; talking about pleasant things in hopes that it will lead to pleasant dreams. Maybe a bedtime prayer and definitely lots of warm hugs or hands held. I try my bed to avoid getting impatient, frustrated, or allowing negative emotions to be part of their end of day.
Set limits. I want my children to be independent enough to fall asleep without me being right there all the time. So while I usually sit next to them in their room, if they take a long time to settle, I will say “I’m going to leave in 5 minutes” and then follow through with that. If they haven’t fallen asleep yet, they learn to do so without me. This is a boundary I set for myself so I can enjoy my own nighttime routine while helping my children be independent of me.
Take your children on a calming journey and it should really help you all enjoy a peaceful, relatively short bedtime routine.
Having a good bedtime routine will alleviate stress for you and your children, but besides that; sleep is crucial for a child’s health. “Studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and even depression.”*
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these sleep hours for children for optimal health:
Infants under 1 year: 12-16 hours
Children 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
Children 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
Children 6-12 years old: 9-12 hours
Teenagers 13-18 years old: 8-10 hours
I really enjoy our bedtime routine, and I love when my children wake up feeling rested. My 6 year old stays in his bed all night, even if he happens to wake up. I’d like to think it's due in part to feeling safe, secure, and independent. He’s proud of himself in that way and I’m happy for him. When my 4 year old says he wants to sleep with me, I assure him that if he wakes up later, he can come into my bed, but first he must fall asleep in his bed. That seems enough to get him to stay in his room. I do allow him to come into my bed later, which is often many hours further into the night. I can always carry him back into his bed, but I enjoy the cuddles. I’m confident he will eventually stay in his room all night soon enough, just as his brother does.
These are our favorite night time practices. I hope you’re finding success in happy bedtimes with your family and have learned something you may want to use from this article today. Share what is a best practice for your family with us! Be sure to follow happilyhomemom on Instagram and get my Free Guide to Manifest More here.
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Malia was born and raised in Kaneohe, Hawaii and graduated from Azusa Pacific University. She spent the majority of her career as an Early Childhood Education Teacher/Administrator.