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Infants » Sleeping, Feeding, Eating

Daily Routines: Bedtime, Tooth Brushing and Mealtime Tips

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Bedtime Routines

  • Following a bedtime routine is important because it helps children fall asleep on their own and helps them get a good night’s sleep.

  • Establish a consistent bedtime routine, such as taking a bath, brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, and finally, having a story. Have the last activity take place in the bedroom, so the bedroom becomes a place where good things happen.

  • Help children learn to fall asleep on their own. After routines are finished, put the child in bed, say goodnight, and leave the room.

Tooth Brushing

  • Brushing your child’s teeth will go faster if you brush together as a family.

  • Try a novelty or mechanical toothbrush.

  • Set an egg timer and brush until the sand runs out.

  • If your child is fussy at bedtime, then brush after dinner instead.

Mealtime

Experts say that spending mealtime together is an important way to strengthen relationships and keep communication open with your child. Yet, mealtime with young children can be stressful for parents. Mealtime can be a pleasurable experience, not a battleground. Here are some ideas that may help.

  • Always have one food that she will eat without fuss.

  • Don’t overload a child’s plate. Small portions look more appetizing.

  • Children’s taste buds are different than adults. Foods may not taste the same to them as they do to you. Keep offering new foods.

  • Offer healthy snacks between meals.

  • Try serving food in an individual container. Children sometimes eat far more this way.

  • Let children leave the table when they are full. If a child is not hungry, do not force him to eat.

  • Continue offering healthy food at planned snack and meal times.

Mealtime should be a time of sharing food and fellowship. Include your child in meal preparation and clean up, too. This time will give you an extra chance for some conversations.

Try this at supper tonight: ask each person to share one positive experience that happened recently or one thing he/she is proud of. Celebrate together!

Ask Dr. Susan