Solutions For Parents

Infants » Sleeping, Feeding, Eating

Bedtime Routines

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The Big Picture – have bedtime be a happy time. Consider the child’s needs as well as your own when deciding a bed time.

Things to do:

  • Set a routine and keep it. Be gentle but firm.
  • Slow the pace and energy of pre-bedtime activities.
  • Give warning ahead of time: “In 15 minutes it will be time to get ready for bed.”
  • Teach the child what the clock looks like when it is bed time.
  • Have your child get in PJ’s an hour ahead and let him or her play in them until bedtime.
  • Make up a story about the child’s day, a place the child visited, something the child wants to grow up to be or do.
  • Talk about the day, include ending with good things.
  • Have your child draw a picture of “what you might do tomorrow.”
  • Read to your child. Snuggling together with a good book can be calming for both parent and child.
  • Let your child talk about the day’s worries and put them in a “worry” bag.
  • Let your child read in bed.
  • If there is a TV in the bedroom, find a way of locking it off at bedtime.
  • Tuck your child in.
  • Respond to fears with reassurance. Talk with your child about night sounds and identify what they are.
  • Provide a nightlight or flashlight.
  • Respond to fears with reassurance. Talk with your child about night sounds and identify what they are.
  • Tell your child what you are going to be doing when you leave the room. “First I’ll be in the bathroom, then I’ll go to the kitchen and make a cup of tea, then I’ll be in the living room.” Tell your child to think about you doing each of these things.
  • Have an inexpensive record, tape or cd player for the child and let him or her play one long playing recording.
Ask Dr. Susan