At some point, almost every parent deals with bedtime battles due to stall tactics but if you’re among the 40% whose kids go to bed when asked, congratulations! Consider yourself lucky because more than 60% of parents worldwide deal with kids’ stall tactics before bed. This universal problem of bedtime excuses add up to nearly 20 minutes of delays every single night leading to lost sleep and cranky kids.
The Importance of Routines at Bedtime
Transitioning to bedtime can be hard for kids but it doesn’t have to be impossible especially when you start using a routine to help gets kids ready for sleep. A good routine lets kids know what is happening next and provides a sense of stability and comfort because they can anticipate what happens next. While it is important that kids go to bed around the same time each night, the routine itself is far more important than the time on the clock especially for toddlers and preschoolers who lack a concept of time.
3 Tips for Establishing a Bedtime Routine for Toddlers and Preschoolers
1. Be consistent
Think about your evening and what happens when. Do you do everything in roughly the same order? Then use that as the basis of your bedtime routine because consistency is key.
2. Use a transitional strategy
If kids have difficulty transitioning from playing to bath and then bedtime, use transitional strategies like showing them a short show such as Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites. These episodes from Netflix and DreamWorks Animation are only five minutes each so kids get to watch a whole episode in a shorter amount of time making them perfect for transitioning toddlers and preschoolers towards bedtime routines.
About a minute before the show ends, make them pause the show and look at you while reminding them what comes after the program is over.
3. Shut off screens
Since blue light from televisions, tablets, or phones right before bedtime can affect sleep, having children watch a short show before the rest of their bedtime routines is best. Once screens are shut off, lead kids through other activities like bath time and tooth brushing before winding down with some snuggles during a bedtime story.
The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for sticking to routines when traveling. Staying in hotels or with relatives can be hard on young kids but keeping a similar routine to what you’re doing at home can make bedtime easier.
As kids get older and become more independent, they rely less and less on us to enforce bedtime routines that have become ingrained. So there is hope that there will come a time when excuses will end and tired children will take it upon themselves to get ready for bed!
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