A bedtime routine is a set of repetitive and consistent activities done every night before bed, as a means to facilitate good sleep. With the right sleep routine, you can ensure that you enjoy quality sleep every night. In children, a set bedtime routine ensures that they are able to enjoy good sleep each night, thereby aiding their overall well-being.
It’s not enough to create a bedtime routine for your children, you have to ensure that you engage in the right practices that won’t sabotage the benefits that a bedtime routine is supposed to have. This is why understanding the dos and don’ts of engaging your children in a bedtime routine is important.
DOs OF CREATING A BEDTIME ROUTINE FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Do it consistently
The major idea behind a bedtime routine is consistency. You have to ensure that the selected activities are ones that your children engage in every night or as many nights as possible. This would help them become accustomed to it and help their body easily get used to the idea of the routine.
Have a daytime routine
Following a set routine during the daytime too will help to maintain a flow for the nightly routine. Practices like ensuring that your children get enough sunlight, engage in exercises, and have short naps in between activities during the day, can help to regulate their Circadian rhythm and enhance good sleep.
Have a set of bedtime hygiene rules
Engaging your children in some bedtime hygiene rules will help to ensure that they enjoy a goodnight’s rest. Turning off the bedroom lights or for children who are scared of the dark, switching to dim lights, maintaining a cool and clean bedroom, and ensuring that there is no unnecessary noise, are sleep hygiene rules that can help your children enjoy good sleep. On your own part as a parent, you also have to ensure that you follow set rules too. For instance, engaging in noisy activities after you have tucked your children in for the night is not beneficial to them as the noise can keep them awake.
Make it short
When creating a bedtime routine, you want to go for activities that are not time-consuming and would be easy to carry out even on nights when you are short on time. Also, making the bedtime routine short will help to ensure that your children have ample time to go to bed and enjoy a long night’s rest.
Listen to your child
Although you are ultimately in charge of creating a nightly routine for your children, it is important that you have a discussion with them to understand which activities work and which ones don’t. Listening to their concerns will help you know where to make changes and adopt new methods.
DON’Ts OF CREATING A BEDTIME ROUTINE FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Don’t let them use electronic gadgets right before bed
Phones, televisions, and other electronic gadgets produce blue light and constant exposure to it can have an impact on a person’s sleep quality. You have to ensure that your children do not use electronic gadgets when it’s getting close to bedtime.
Don’t carry out the routine when they are already sleeping
If for any reason, your children go to sleep without engaging in their routine, let them continue sleeping. Waking them up can make them grumpy and make it difficult for them to get back to sleep. It is better to start out the routine before the child becomes drowsy.
Don’t let them eat caffeinated and sugary foods
Like with adults, certain foods can have effects on sleep in children too. Try to keep nighttime snacks to a minimum and if there will be snacks, make them as healthy as possible. Avoid snacks with caffeine as they can cause hyperactivity, sugary foods can also make children hyperactive and can cause cavities.
Don’t let them run around at night
Children have ample time during the day, to run around and burn off steam as much as they want. Letting them run around before bedtime will only work them into a frenzied state and keep them too hyperactive to sleep.
Don’t let them sleep in on weekends
It can be typically tempting to let your children take a break from their bedtime routine and let them go to bed later than the usual time, you should however note that this can lead to an imbalance that would make them find it difficult to return to the routine during weekdays.
Bedtime routines are important and with the right practices, they can be extremely beneficial to not just your children but to you too.