What NOT to include in your child’s bedtime routine
You’ve probably heard that a bedtime routine is a great thing to implement to encourage better sleep skills. And it is! But there are a few things to keep in mind if you want the routine to be effective at winding your child down at night, so here are my top five things to LEAVE OUT of the routine at bedtime.
1. Anything detestable
Seriously, leave anything your child actively dislikes OUT of the routine. If they really hate baths, DO NOT start with a bath. If they hate massage, don’t force them to lie still. The routine is designed to wind your child down not start a battle of wills. No matter what you’ve been told SHOULD go in a bedtime routine, if your child hates it, leave it out!
Screens are stimulating for the brain and not conducive to winding down. In fact the blue frequency of light commonly associated with screen time actively inhibits melatonin, the sleepy hormone we want to promote at bedtime. So screen time before bed? Uh uh.
If you have an older child who has ever been to a birthday party where there is sugary food on the menu, you’ll probably know why this is a bad idea just before bed. There are good foods to eat before sleep, but sugar isn’t one of them. What really is in that bed time snack?
4. Play fighting
Dad, you know what I’m talking about. The wrestling, tickle wars, pillow fights and throwing your child in the air is all good fun and can lead to a mountain of giggles. But it is not conducive to winding down. I’m all for raucous fun. But not right before bed.
5. Free play
This is unstructured play that is child led. And yes, it certainly has its place during the day. But a bedtime routine needs to have a certain amount of consistency, so giving your child free rein to do what they like at this point isn’t going to help.
So there you have it; five things to remove from your child’s bedtime routine (that’s the period just before bed) tonight. And now it’s pointed out, I’m sure you really knew it all along. If you need a little help with bedtime dramas or to get your child sleeping through the night, book in a free 15 minute call to learn more. Because everyone deserves the chance to learn better sleep skills!