Does my Child Need a Bedtime Routine?
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
YES! Your child does need a bedtime routine. Did you know that studies have shown that even adults benefit from having a bedtime routine? This doesn't mean reading our selves a nursery rhyme or singing a song, but we benefit from even a simple routine that may include brushing our teeth, turning off electronics, having a drink of water. Just a few little things that help our minds and bodies know that bedtime is nearing.
Often when I ask parents if they have a bedtime routine for their baby or toddler, the answer is no. OR they say they do but when they tell me how the routine goes it isn't consistent, calming, or long enough. A bedtime routine is so important for your child. If you have a toddler that fights bedtime and you don't have a bedtime routine, I strongly suggest starting one. You will see a difference in just a few nights. It helps your toddler settle and get in the mind set that bedtime is nearing. I sometimes even suggest doing a very short routine before naptime if your child is hyper or has just come from a very stimulating environment. The key to your child's bedtime routine is that it should be relaxing for them. If you aren't leaving your child in their room calm, chances are there is going to be a bedtime battle and they will resist going to sleep. Majority of the routine should take place in their own room as well, not in a room that has electronics, people and lots of noise. What age should I start a bedtime routine?
You can start a bedtime routine as early as the day you bring your baby home from the hospital. The sooner the better. It also helps you get in the habit of doing it for when they're older. It becomes a part of your routine.
How long should my child's bedtime routine be?
Ages 0-2 months: Your baby's routine shouldn't be any longer then 15 minutes. It doesn't need to be anything complex, just something relaxing for your baby.
Ages 3-6 months: Your baby's routine should be 20 minutes long. Ages 7 months-toddler: Your child's routine should be 30 minutes long. These are all the minimum times. I wouldn't recommend making it shorter then the times above. However, if you need to make it a little longer for your child to be relaxed then that is totally fine. Now the most common question is "What do I include my child's bedtime routine to make it relaxing and enjoyable?"
I have created a guide that has sample bedtime routines for different ages, as well as some key things to remember in creating a bedtime routine. Click below to grab your copy!