How to create a bedtime routine that sticks

One of the key ways we can support children’s futures is by instilling the understanding that sleep is important. I believe that if sleep is respected and celebrated as a family, a sleep routine won’t be so tear-inducing. So, once they have the understanding, these five steps can help create a bedtime routine that sticks.

Young girl holding a pillow. Teaching how to create a bedtime routine that sticks on the Bettering Youth blog

Learn more about sleep and what it does to help you show up your best self.

1. Ensure your child isn’t hungry

There is nothing worse than trying to sleep on a full stomach – or worse yet, an empty one! Beat the excuses by scheduling in a belly check 1-2 hours prior to starting the sleep routine. This ensures they’re satisfied and you won’t be battling the “I’m hungry” song long into the night. 

2. Put the Devices to Bed… in a different room

This is a great way to explain to children the need for sleep: just as our phones need a charge, so do we! So create a space that allows their electronics to charge in a different room. This avoids any late night scrolling  and ensures you won’t walk into their room to see their zombie-like eyes glued to a screen. 

3. Calm the Mind

Create an end of day routine with your child that allows them to reflect on their day, share their gratitudes and slow their racing mind. The last thing we want is a child who creeps down the stairs because they ‘can’t sleep’. Not only is it lessening their precious sleep time, but it’s also encroaching on your necessary time to be an adult. 

4. Black it Out

A dark room is essential to help regulate our hormones. Therefore this is another key reason to have technology out of the room. While some youth may still find it uncomfortable to be in the dark, do try to encourage a smaller light that isn’t in the direct line of sight from the bed. 

5. Bed Time

This is the topic that tends to create the most… spirited of discussions. The time in which you set for your child to sleep should allow for them to get optimal hours of rest. While you may not want to negotiate this time, opening up a dialogue about why you’ve chosen it and how it will help your child can lessen the debate team-worthy arguments. 

For more information on when your child should go to bed be sure to check out this advice from the NHS.

And if they’re not keen to go to bed, know you’re not alone and it will happen!

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