It is imperative to get a good night’s rest for both you and your child for a number of reasons.
Studies show that without a good night’s sleep, children are less likely to do well in school and more likely
to be overweight. Adults are more productive and less moody after a good night’s sleep. Studies also
show that, no matter what your age, getting the same amount of sleep during the same hours provides
better rest than sporadic bedtimes and sleeping time.
There is a way for you and your child to receive the best rest. The key is establishing a bedtime routine.
Your family’s bedtime routine must meet the specific requirements for all the ages and personality types
in your family. Follow these suggestions to establish an effective bedtime routine for you and your child.
Prepare for Sleep
First, eliminate what does not lead to a restful sleep. Electronic games, action filled television shows, and
sweet foods will not help you or your child slow down mind and body and prepare for rest.
Secondly, add activities that will create mental and physical sleep preparation. This varies with the
individual, but the following activities can quiet the mind and body:
Listening to relaxing music
Taking a bath
Meditation or praying
Have the same ritual each night at the same time. Begin with preparing the body for a good night’s sleep.
Wash hands and face – or take a warm bath or shower – and brush teeth. Mom may want to remove
makeup and apply a nighttime moisturizer.
Very young children respond well to lullabies. Toddlers usually like a bedtime story. Older children can
read a favorite book before bedtime. Relaxing music or a sleep machine can block out traffic and
household noise and help assure a good night’s sleep.
Prepare for Comfort
Choose bed wear and bedding that is comfortable for the season of the year. Lighter sheets and
sleepwear will keep you cool and comfortable in the summer. Choose warm, cuddly clothing, flannel
sheets, and heavier blankets in the winter.
Some children like pajamas; others prefer a sleep shirt or nightgown. Determine what is most comfortable
for your child. For safety, your child’s bedclothes should be fire retardant.
Most nights, 20 to 30 minutes for your bedtime routine will be sufficient. However, the amount of time you
and your child need to unwind and complete nighttime routines may vary according to age, time of the
year, and circumstances. For example, during summer when your child is out of school, a later bedtime
might be appropriate. The amount of sleep required varies with age; younger children generally need
more sleep than older children or adults.
What bedtime routines will help you and your child get the best rest? This is dependent on personal
preference and the lifestyle you live. Consider the things that tend to make you and your child sleepy, and
then add those activities to your bedtime routine. The key is consistency in doing the same activities at
the same time each evening. Doing so will provide you and your child a good night’s rest.