Children tend to get hyperactive when they’re tired, and the last thing you need after a long day is a wrestling match with your wiggly one. A soothing bedtime routine helps calm your children down; it also tells their body that it is time to unwind and prepare for a restful sleep.
Sleep is essential for your brain and body, and it is especially critical for children to get enough sleep during the school year. According to sleep and brain scientist Matt Walker’s TED talk “Sleep is your Superpower,” you need sleep both before and after learning new things. You need sleep after learning to hit the “save button” on those new memories so that you don’t forget and you also need sleep before learning in order to prepare your brain to soak up new information! Without sleep, the memory circuits of the brain essentially become waterlogged and you cannot absorb new memories. So basically, sleep is your child’s best learning companion! They need adequate sleep to learn properly and retain the information they learn.
And a balanced, relaxing bedtime routine can soothe your child to dreamland. We put together some getting-ready-for-bedtime ideas that will hopefully work for you and your children!
Nothing like some warm water to calm a little body down. Don’t forget to sing some fun bath tunes, too! If you prefer a bath to a shower for your littles, having some fun bath toys can help, too. We love this bath set with letters, numbers and shapes. We also love this baby bath shower head to help your littles get more used to water in a gentle and fun way.
This can be a great time to give your littles some choice in the bedtime routine. You can let them choose what pj’s they want to wear from a few different options. Sometimes they may want to mix and match, and that’s OK! If your child is s a dawdler, challenge them to get into their pj’s before you finish singing their favorite song.
An evening snack is usually a must-have before bed. It’s never good to go to bed feeling a little hungry, as hunger will only hinder a good night’s sleep. Since dinnertime may have been a few hours ago, a healthy little snack can do wonders before bed. Good sleepy-time snacks include a carb-protein combo. We love homemade granola/energy bars, some yogurt or cottage cheese with homemade granola, or a little bowl of oatmeal with nut butter. Just make sure you steer away from sugar, especially at night!
This is super important! Get into the habit of brushing regularly early on! Brushing at night is especially important as bacteria builds up during the day and at night–let’s not hop on that cavity train please. Having colorful toothbrushes can make brushing teeth more fun for kids, too. We like these manual toothbrushes for babies and toddlers, and these for a little older. When your kids are ready for an electric toothbrush, this is a fun one and has a musical timer!
SAY GOODNIGHT TO EVERYONE
To ease your children into the bedroom, let them say goodnight to everyone; they can say goodnight to not only family members, but their pet(s), favorite toys and stuffed animals, too. (Even the moon!)
READ A BEDTIME STORY
Most children love when someone reads them a bedtime story. Reading books together can be the sweetest time of night, and it’s fun to cuddle up together in a cozy spot, be it your child’s bed, a rocking chair or a big bean bag. If your child is a little antsy, then perhaps a calming song will better lull them to sleep.
NIGHT-NIGHT KISSES AND HUGS
Sleepy time most definitely will not start without goodnight kisses, hugs and cuddles. This is a nice time to show how much you love and care for your child. Ask what the best part of their day was and what will be exciting tomorrow. Tell your child you love them with a big smooch and hug. It’s also nice to add a cherry “Sweet dreams! See you in the morning!” as you walk out and turn off the light.
We hope that some of these bedtime “activities” will help your children unwind from busy, energetic days at school and extracurriculars. With a full night’s peaceful sleep, they will be better prepared and energized to tackle the next day–not to mention, less cranky, too.
Written by Gelsey Plaza