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Sleepovers & Bedtime

Evening Routines

One of the first routines we seem to develop with our children is the nighttime or bedtime routine. As new parents, we're excited to spend time with our children, but eager to see them drift off to dreamland so that we can get a few minutes of shut eye ourselves. This nighttime routine often comes more from necessity than anything else; it's a routine that develops naturally for most families. Although we don't often think about a routine as being an intentional set of actions, kids thrive on knowing what to do and when to do it. It gives them a sense of belonging and a sense of independence. Nighttime routines may include bath time, story time, and more. Evening routines not only help your child manage her time, they can help your child develop good habits. Many evening routines are a prelude to bed time, and each activity included in the routine is designed to prepare your child to end her day and say goodnight. Evening routines also help your child wind down from her busy day. Expecting a child to go from playtime to bedtime is difficult. Working her into the idea of going to bed via a nighttime routine makes the process much easier.

So, what does an evening routine for children look like?

  • Post dinner activities. These may be relatively "quiet" activities like clearing the table, doing the dishes, or watching an hour of television. The idea is to help your child wind down, not get her wound up.
  • Bath time. A warm bath works wonders in calming active children. You can even try a little lavender in the bathwater to soothe your child. Although bath time play isn't necessarily off limits, it shouldn't be rambunctious.
  • Post-bath nighttime preparations. After toweling off, help your child put on her pajamas and brush her hair and teeth. These activities not only help her prepare for bed, they help her develop good grooming and dental care routines.
  • Story time. Kids love story time! Let her pick a book and tuck her in, then read in a soothing, quiet voice with the room dimly lit. Reading to kids is important in so many ways. Make it a habit.

Your child will be asleep in no time!