Bedtime rituals are set of behaviors designed to signal your brain that it’s time for sleep. Engaging in these routines night after night helps your sleep-wake cycle align with natural cycles.
Common rituals may include drinking warm milk, reading something non-stimulating such as a novel with an easily predictable plot and journaling.
1. Take a Bath
Establishing a bedtime ritual with your baby can be particularly useful. It helps them adjust to bedtime more easily while creating special bonding time between parent and child. Timing may vary, but aim to do it at about the same time each night.
Warm baths can also help increase melatonin production, essential for restful sleep. Though you don’t need to bathe your infant every night, two or three times each week should suffice – use an enjoyable baby wash such as Lovekins Baby Hair + Body Wash with Kakadu Plum for optimal relaxation!
Once they’re clean and cozy, reading a book can be an ideal way to relax before bed. Depending on their age, this may range from an easy board book to longer stories with more words – just be mindful when selecting books so as to avoid violent or disturbing content that may upset them!
Studies have proven that playing soft, relaxing music at bedtime can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, and make reading enjoyable for your child. You could choose books with easy words or nursery rhymes as a good way of encouraging their language development.
Once your child has settled into their bed, creating a bedtime ritual such as saying goodnight to their favourite toys or their parent can be comforting and help set the scene for sleep. For older kids, brushing teeth, washing their faces, and enjoying tea or warm milk before bed can all contribute to helping ensure an efficient night’s rest.
2. Change Clothes
At bedtime, dressing your child in their pajamas is one of the most essential steps. Doing so helps them feel relaxed and safe, as well as teach them responsibility at night. While you might prefer they wear clothes more frequently during the daytime than just for sleep time – either way it is important that outside clothes such as jackets should never be worn inside as this brings germs and dirt into their bedroom!
Change clothing before bedtime to give yourself and your child time to talk about their day and show how much you care. Potty breaks can often serve as a stalling tactic at bedtime; make sure they use the bathroom before getting into their pajamas!
If your child is old enough, consider including a teeth brushing ritual into their bedtime routine. Aside from encouraging good oral health and building coordination skills, this activity can also help them develop pre-reading abilities and foster reading proficiency. Once done, help tuck them in for bed.
Setting boundaries about how long your children can stay awake after you tuck them in is also helpful in creating a peaceful and reliable routine for bedtime. If they keep asking for extra hugs or drinks of water or to read one more story, your routine could easily get derailed; having a list of limits you won’t bend on such as: “Reading one more book means bedtime” will help frame boundaries that you will abide by.
3. Say Goodnight
Saying goodnight is part of a bedtime ritual designed to signal kids they’re ready for sleep and offer parents an opportunity to tell their children just how much they care and appreciate them – as well as assure them they will always be there no matter what.
Bedtime routines should take place every night at around the same time and should include one or more relaxing activities that help prepare a child for restful slumber, such as reading, listening to music, or practicing relaxation techniques such as body stretching. Some families may incorporate weighted blankets as these have been proven to reduce anxiety in both adults and children alike.
Toddlers often struggle with separation anxiety, so it is crucial that they learn they are safe and loved in their own room. Therefore, giving your toddler something comforting like a stuffed animal or blanket that they can use to feel secure can help them sleep easier at night.
As your children get older, their bedtime rituals may need to adapt more fluidly depending on whether or not they work or participate in extra-curricular activities after school. But still it is wise to start winding down the household by shutting off digital devices and following a similar order of activities each night.
An effective bedtime routine can make it easier for your child to settle into their bed and remain there throughout the night, and research shows that those who stick with a consistent routine experience better overall sleep quality years later. Take inspiration from sleepy hygge fans and start your own bedtime ritual today!
4. Read a Story
Bedtime stories are an effective family ritual to help children sleep easily by creating positive associations between reading and sleep. For optimal results, try reading from physical books instead of screens right before bed. Maintaining this tradition night after night will also create stability in your child’s mind and establish good sleeping habits.
Bedtime stories provide an effective means of winding down from an active day and creating memories to last a lifetime. Reading aloud to your children at bedtime may become one of their favorite memories!
No matter if it’s Goodnight Moon or an entertaining bedtime story that makes your children giggle out loud, sharing stories at bedtime with your children can foster their life-long enjoyment of reading and learning. Plus, reading can strengthen kids’ brain connections – which is great for literacy skills and language comprehension!
Reading bedtime stories together is also a wonderful opportunity to discuss events from their day while building bonds and showing your care for your child. This can be particularly important when children with emotional and behavioral disorders struggle with sleep, as spending time reading can reduce stress, improve mood and help them settle more quickly into restful slumber.
5. Have a Snack
Many people eat snacks before bedtime, but it’s important to keep in mind that doing so could negatively impact your sleep habits. Your stomach might still be digesting dinner or you might find yourself nibbling when it should be time for relaxation; either way, this can disturb your normal sleeping cycle and cause more wakings during the night.
If you must eat something before sleeping, strive to select something nutritious and light. An ideal snack would be something your body can easily digest, without too much fat or sugar; avoid greasy or high sodium food items which could increase acid reflux and heartburn when lying down.
Eat light protein-rich snacks such as yogurt with berries or an egg to aid sleep faster, such as cherry juice. Furthermore, other fruit such as cherries may help stimulate melatonin production for even faster sleeping. A crunchy snack such as popcorn or nuts might be good options too, especially if they’re unsalted.
Avoid snacks high in sugar to maintain a natural sleeping cycle and feel refreshed upon awakening. If craving sweets late-night, select something low-in-fat and sugar such as dark chocolate. Or you could try soothing herbal tea or milk to relax before bedtime quickly.