Bedtime Routine Tips

Here are a few reminders to help with your bedtime routine:

  • Same place, same time, same order every night – The more routine you have, the better. In our house, it was and is bath, jammies, teeth, story, bed. As they’ve gotten older, we changed from us reading aloud for 20 minutes, to us for 20 and them reading in their rooms for 20, and that change is the new steady routine.
  • Avoid TV and rough house play – If there are any bedtime or sleep issues, tv and rough house play have been shown to be too stimulating within two hours of sleep.
  • Finish at least the last 10 minutes in their rooms – Avoid finishing the bedtime routine in the living room and carting them off to bed. Ideally, there is time to quietly acclimate to their own rooms.
  • Manage bedtime power struggles with positive discipline – If they stall through the routine, run amok after bath, won’t stay in bed or stay in bed screaming, learn positive discipline. There are so many techniques that can be helpful in these moments such as assertive voice, choices, contribution and logical consequences. If you are struggling, it is time to learn better ways.
  • If there is difficulty, pick a method and stick with it – There are so many ways to approach building healthy sleep habits. If there is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, the idea is to pick a method and stick with it. From co-sleeping, to gradual move-outs, to check-ins and cry it outs, each method is designed to get children falling to sleep and staying asleep easily. Learn about these approaches, and then pick the one that best fits your family.

Author: Dr. Rene Hackney

With a MA in school psychology and a PhD in developmental psychology, I founded and work as a parent educator at Parenting Playgroups. Somewhere in there I trained in the Developmental Clinic at Children's NMC and in the public schools. I have two beautiful, funny children who make me practice what I preach most everyday.

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