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Bedtime Routines Promote Good Sleep Habits

Parents often read how important it is for children to have a clearly established bedtime routine. Expert after expert recommends it for kids of all ages, but especially at the elementary school age. But while parents know it's a good thing, they may not be so sure why it's important and how to get one established.

Why Bedtime Routines Rule

There are many reasons why having a consistent bedtime routine is good for children. For starters, children thrive on routine and knowing what to expect. With a routine in place, they are also more likely to get the proper amount of sleep each night, which is necessary for optimal health and wellness. Having a bedtime routine also helps children prepare for going to bed. It's a much smoother experience if they follow a routine, rather than the parent simply announcing that it's time for bed, with a child not knowing what to expect.

Starting a Bedtime Routine with your Child

Bedtime routines vary from child to child, as everyone is different and has different preferences. Here are a few things you may want to consider as you create a nightly bedtime routine:

  • About an hour before kids go to bed, try to limit any eating or drinking, since that could keep them awake. Also use this time to help them start winding down and doing something that is calming.
  • Give at least a 10-minute warning that the bedtime routine is approaching.
  • Try to keep their bedtimes consistent, with them going to bed and getting up around the same time each day.
  • The bedtime routine may include such things as brushing and flossing teeth, reading a book, going to the bathroom, giving hugs and kisses, praying, or a number of other things.

Creating Good Sleep Habits for Children

What you do in your children's nightly bedtime routine is not nearly as important as simply having one to begin with. The children will begin to rely on it as a way to help ease them into bed. It will also help them become consistently good sleepers, which will be good for their bodies, as well as their minds. A good bedtime routine is easy to start, and an important part of childhood. The most important thing, however, is to be consistent, so that children will know what to expect.