Successful Bedtime Routines in 5 Steps

I was reminded recently how important bedtime routines are for smaller children.  Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but it is the sworn duty of children to —

Eat too much sugar

Resist directions

Stay up as late as possible

This combination can easily make it a nightmare to get everyone to bed 🙂 at a decent moment.

I just read this article on bedtime routines…which I like.  The ideas are sound, however I’m not sure why waiting until a baby is three months old to begin is a necessary precaution.

Bedtime Routines: The Key to Sound Baby Sleep

One of the easiest ways to help your little one sleep well is by establishing a relaxing bedtime routine. Babies and toddlers naturally enjoy routines – and establishing a consistent bedtime routine from about 3 months of age

Jody and I experienced a lot of sanity by helping our 5 children settle into a bedtime sleep routine (including sleeping through the night) by the time they were 6 weeks old.  Imagine how much sanity (and peace) might be in your hope if you could simple say “Bedtime” and the house turned quiet!

Here’s our suggestions:

1.  Decide who will run your home.  If the children are in charge of the decisions then you are doomed.  You also are at the wrong site.

2.  Pick an actual I-want-you-in-your-bed-for-the-rest-of-the-night time for each child.  We spaced it out a bit…older children could stay up a little later.

3.  Write up and post (on the fridge  or somewhere) the actual sequence of steps to get into bed…bath, teeth, dress, straighten…  Also, explain the plan to all the children in a group meeting.

4.  Especially explain to the children that they do not have to sleep all night, they just must stay in (on it / always touching it like home plate) their bed the whole night.  This really is accurate as bedtime (instead of sleep-time).

5.  Put it on the calendar to review your betime plan in one month.  In the meantime, just work toward it without worry.  Worry if it isn’t working in a month.

Well, that’s a good bedtime routine start.  I dare you to try it for a month.


Fred Lybrand

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