Bedtime routines are important for children and adults alike. Regular schedules and bedtime rituals help us tell our brains and our bodies that it’s time to go to bed. Establishing a bedtime routine that helps your child to go to sleep, stay asleep and wake up feeling refreshed is so important to help them function at their best. Studies have shown that children who have irregular bedtimes often have behavioural problems such as emotional difficulties, hyperactivity and problems with peers as sleep deprivation can affect the way your child’s brain matures. If your child has been choosing his or her own bedtime don’t panic – studies also show these effects are completely reversible, so it’s never too late to introduce a bedtime routine.
Researchers analysed data from 11,000 children whose families were asked about bedtimes at the ages of 3, 5 and 7 years old, and then at age 7, the children were tested on reading, maths and spatial skills. Seven-year-old girls who did not have a regular sleeping pattern scored lower on all three tests when compared to those who had consistent bedtimes. Studies have shown that kids who get consistent, good sleep are more likely have improved attention, behaviour, learning, and memory.
By creating a bedtime ritual for you and your children, you can spend some precious time with them away from school work, electronics and the worries of the day. You can use this unwind time to talk to your child and focus on giving them your undivided attention to answer any questions and talk about the big things in life. Having this time to bond through reading, cuddling and bathing nurtures the relationship you have with your child and can teach them how to nurture the relationships they have in the future.
Every parent knows that repetition and structure is crucial in the development of your child thanks to their ability to make your child feel safe. There’s a reason your little ones always want to hear the same bedtime story and always need the same teddy. Creating a bedtime ritual of getting into pjs, brushing teeth, reading a bedtime story, hugs and kisses and then saying goodnight helps your child understand what is expected every night and comforts them knowing they get this time each day.
As adults, it’s hard to know how to relax when we’re feeling stressed or tired. Teaching your child some tricks to relax their bodies and minds from a young age is something that will stay with them forever. Bedtime is a great time to teach your child how to transition from the busyness of their days to more relaxed, down time.
Reading is so important for the development of your child no matter what their age is. Reading time with your kids can be so special and keeping it up even as your children are grown up and can read on their own still gives you something to do together. Reading to your children from a young age at bedtime can help spark a love for language into your children in a very modern electronic age.
Bedtime isn’t going to be easy every night but trying to keep a relaxing routine for you and your family that you follow, at least most of the time, can really make a difference to the development of your child’s confidence, relationship with you and how they get on at school.