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Bedtime Routine

Creating an Effective Bedtime Routine

GoodNites®

Ever wish you could enlist the services of a bedtime fairy godmother: someone who would show up at your house, wave her magic wand, and instantly transport your child to the land of dreams?

Ever wish you could enlist the services of a bedtime fairy godmother: someone who would show up at your house, wave her magic wand, and instantly transport your child to the land of dreams? While bedtime fairy godmothers may be in short supply, you have an equally powerful tool at your disposal as a parent. What I’m talking about, of course, is the power (some might even say magic) of a bedtime routine.

The benefits of a bedtime routine

It may sound too good to be true, but the evidence is surprisingly solid. A 2015 study involving over 10,000 parents in 14 countries concluded that children who benefit from a positive and predictable bedtime routine go to bed earlier, fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer, and wake less often in the night—and that they also experience fewer behavioral problems during the day. Of course, having a well-rested child also reaps tremendous benefits to you as a parent. A 2009 study conducted by the same group of researchers confirmed what parents have always known: having a child who sleeps well makes for a happier you!

Creating a bedtime routine that works for you and your child

So what is the secret to creating a really effective bedtime routine?

Predictability.

Having a consistent bedtime routine helps your child to feel safe and secure, something that promotes a good night’s sleep because he’s going to bed feeling happy and relaxed. It also helps to alert your child to the fact that bedtime is coming and that it’s time to start to feel sleepy. That means less conflict at bedtime and less stress for him and for you.

And, speaking of stress, there’s no need to worry about the specific makeup of your child’s bedtime routine. Simply think about what makes sense for you and for him so that you can come up with your own variation on the standard “bedtime snack, brush teeth, pajamas, bedtime stories” night time routine. That said, you’ll probably want to plan your activities so that they culminate with your child being tucked into bed. And you’ll want to steer clear of activities that are more likely to wind him up than to calm him down. In other words, you’ll want to save that rousing game of tag for the morning.

Here’s an added advantage to wrapping up the bedtime routine: spending some quiet one-on-one time with your child. Not only is it a great opportunity to read bedtime stories together and listen as your child recounts the highlights of his day. It’s also a great chance to talk through any worries and concerns he might be carrying around, including worries about bedwetting. It’s your chance to reassure him that bedwetting isn’t a big deal at all and that he will outgrow the problem over time. Hearing that powerful and reassuring message will allow him to let go of his worries and head off to dreamland, which means a good night for him and for you.

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