Episode 10 –
Creating Battle-Free
Bedtime Routines

Episode 10

“Early bedtimes should be a part of your bedtime routine in order to maximize the sleep window for your kids.”

Sharon shares her best tips on creating a bedtime routine that will work for your child and YOU! Our children are creatures of habit and following a bedtime routine will most certainly make this time of day more pleasant for both you and your child. Have questions? Ask Sharon on Facebook or book a call here! Thanks for listening!

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Sharon: Today’s episode is going to be about the importance of creating a bedtime routine for your children and probably we’ll talk a little bit about how did you feel for yourself too. And first we’ll talk about the importance of creating a bedtime routine. Um, and then we’ll talk about sort of how to create a bedtime routine, um, how to enforce a bedtime routine and then how to make a routine work when your kids get a little bit older and things get a bit crazier. Um, and lastly, I will touch on sort of why bedtime routines are so important for us as well and um, and how to make sure that the whole family gets nice restful sleep. I think that it’s really important to create a consistent bedtime routines because after all, children are creatures of habit. They really do respond well to routines in general and they love to know what’s coming next. Right? And so it’s part of the reason that they like to test where their boundaries are. Bedtime is certainly no exception to that. And they want to truly sort of figure out what they’re allowed to do, what they’re not allowed to do, and a bedtime routine allows them to anticipate what’s coming next and if your routine starts with a bath or shower, then they know that you know what? After I get bath time, I am going to be heading to story time and then it’s time for bed and the bedtime routine is not only so important for them but makes your life so much easier because it allows you to have sort of a set set of things that are going to happen before bedtime.
It makes it easier for you to relay that information to someone else when someone else is putting your kids to bed and it makes it so that your kids are more willing to allow someone else to put them to bed because they. The familiarity of the routine is still present. And I think that that is something that’s really important. Parents are often so afraid to let someone else put their kids to bed because they may not know what to do, but if you have a set routine in place, it’s so much easier to then teach someone what to do. Um, and really even your kids can teach them what to do, um, once they get to the toddler age of about two and a half or so.
Here I can talk a little bit about some different studies about bedtime routines, maybe do a little bit more research about why bedtime routines are so important. Um, the next thing we’re going to talk about is how do you even go about creating a bedtime routine? If your kids are a little bit older, I would say probably four and half, five or up, and you don’t have a set bedtime routine or you’re looking to change your bedtime routine. I would involve them in the process, right? They are going to be much more excited to follow through on a bedtime routine if they have been present and a part of creating it. And so that’s the first thing. The second thing is the bedtime routine really needs to be geared toward calming the child down, and so this is where I find a lot of parents have a hard time or a lot of parents are struggling with bedtime because sometimes screen time is part of their bedtime routine, which I definitely don’t recommend.
Um, I would say that I’m at least an hour before bedtime. There should be no screens for your kids to be watching because they really do activate the brain in a way that prevents it from being able to go to sleep. I’m sort of easily, um, and so I don’t recommend having sleep as part of a bedtime routine. I personally think that a bedtime routine length should be about a half hour. Right? And that could include, you know, a few minutes, have a shower, a bath. If you really like to spend time in the bath and you want to let your kids play in the bath, you can make the routine a little bit longer or make other parts of the routine a little bit shorter, which is also fine. Um, and you know, you don’t have to feel like your kids need, um, nevermind. Um, so the idea of the routine is really to start calming down.
I also think the bedtime routine is an amazing time of day to start injecting some quality time. Right? And so in our house we try very hard to give each child their own bedtime routine that is independent of the other children. Um, occasionally we do have to put them together because, you know, things get a little busy sometimes, but, um, but we really try to give each child a 30 minute bedtime routine that is theirs. And that doesn’t mean that we’re a part of every aspect of the routine for older children. There’s a lot of their bedtime routine that they can do independently, but we try to at least have some of it be quality time with us. Right? And that could be quality because you’re reading a story, it could be quality time because you are, um, talking about your day and what kind of things went on that day. And okay, so in creating a bedtime routine, you want to include those activities that will leave them happy and calm before bed. Right. So I can give you an example. Our bedtime routine. After dinner the kids will take a shower and then everybody gets in their respective PJ’s and brushes their teeth. And then one at a time I lay with each child. We talk a little bit about how the day went and then we read, um, for about 10, 15 minutes. Um, my older children will have some independent reading time before I get in there and I start my bedtime routine on the earlier side. Um, my three year old is in bed between seven and 7:30 each day. And then, um, my five year old between 7:30 and 7:45. And then our nine year old is embedded eight and our almost 12 year old is embedded 8:30. There are a lot of people who think we have pretty early bedtimes for older children, but you know, my 12 year old has to be up at 6:00 in the morning and waiting for the bus by seven.
So I think that she needs her sleep, it’s super important for her to get a really good night’s sleep, um, so that she could be as focused and productive as you can during the day. Um, I would say that the time of the time is one of the number is probably the number one reason that parents have a hard time putting their kids to bed is because they are missing that window of when their kids are tired. And um, and you know, we’ll do sort of a whole episode in the future on, um, on how to get your kids to sleep better. But, uh, the bedtime routine is certainly the first thing there. And I think it’s important to remember that your kids do get tired probably way before we’re putting them to sleep and then they end up getting sort of overtired. And when we miss that window, we have a much harder time putting them to bed for that reason. So early bedtimes should be part of your bedtime routine, um, in order to maximize the, the sleep window for your kids.
And then, um, you know, the other question will come sort of how do you enforce it, right? And so, um, I recommend that even for your littlest, you know, toddlers, you create a chart that has pictures and images of what is supposed to happen when and do you can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to be with that chart. Um, you could put pictures of them doing their bedtime routine. You could put pictures of the bedtime routine, you know, someone brushing your teeth or a toothbrush and then have a velcro sticker that goes from one to the other to make it interactive. And this way they can be excited to move through each section of the bedtime routine. Most likely it’s not something that they’re going to want to do forever, but it will help them create a habit of the bedtime routine and excite them to move along and get through it. Um, and then, um, you know, one of the main challenges I find as kids get older is there a lot of kids that have activities and um, sports especially that may run late or exams to study for that as they approach those later elementary, middle school years, um, it becomes harder to follow a specific bedtime routine. And I’m in these cases, I think what I would recommend most is that you, uh, try to create a realistic schedule with your kids every Sunday and take a look at the week ahead, what activities they have, what games they might be playing in a, what concerts they might be performing in or what exams might be coming up and really try to come up with a realistic schedule of what a routine for them can be that allows them enough sleep and still gives them that time to calm down before bed. Because as we mentioned before, it really is very important. They can’t really sleep as effectively and as peacefully and restfully if they are wired right before bed. And so, um, even if it’s a five minute, you know, reading session or something to sort of clear their minds and, you know, every kid is different and this is where they can really help you create the routine that works for them and it may require some trial and error. You may that some kids that you may find that your child thinks that, you know, reading before bed would be a great idea. And then they are reading a book that’s so exciting and I’m activating that for them. That really isn’t such a good idea right now. Maybe it’s listening to a little bit of light music. Um, and I’m taking that few minutes to sort of just reflect on their day and, and I think that it’s important to listen to your kids here and see what it is that really helps and, um, and feel free to reach out and send me a message if you’re not sure what some other options might be or you’re running into some difficulties with this. I’m happy to help out.
And then, I mean I would say that that is a pretty good thing. The last thing I wanted to talk about, this is something that has been, um, really going on a lot in our home is um, bedtime routines for us as parents and sometimes we forget that we also need that time to relax and calm down before bed. And unfortunately most adults, I think the last thing they see before they go to bed is there cell phone and that can be quite activating two and some of us are watching tv before bed and some of us are, are listening to, sorry, are looking at facebook or instagram and it can be a little bit disruptive to sleep. And I think that for many of us we have a lot more um, or different stressors that our kids have and they can tend to keep us up at night. And so really clearing our minds can be really important. Um, I think that a bedtime routine allows our bodies. So are mine. Stop for one second.
Allows us to really think about sleep in a different way and really prepare ourselves for the night ahead. Um, and as you go through your routine more frequently, your body will just get tired because it will anticipate that bedtime is coming. Um, and that’s the goal for us and that’s the goal for our kids too, because the more sleep we get, the better functioning. Um, we are in the morning and the more focused we can be, and I’m sure we’ll talk in the future all about the importance of sleep and why it’s so important to get a good night’s rest, which I know a lot of us know some about, but not always. We’re not always putting that as a priority for us. And sometimes we’re not even putting it as a priority for our kids. So hopefully having a good routine, we’ll make that a little bit easier and happy sleeping.

Meet Your Mentor

Sharon is a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.

 After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, she realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.

 The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.

Sharon’s experience with hundreds of families as well as her own help her meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.

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This site and the information contained therein is for educational purposes only. This site is not a substitute for medical advice, treatment or diagnosis. The use of this site does not create a doctor-patient relationship.

Your privacy is important to us so we want to let you know. This site uses tracking technology, such as cookies and pixels to enhance your user experience and provide social media features. You can find out more here.