When you think of creating a bedtime routine you probably think of babies and toddlers right!?! Well, it’s just as important to create a nighttime routine for your big kids too.
As I’m writing this post, my kids are in elementary school and middle school. Over time I’ve made adjustments to their routines and bedtimes according to their age or if they’re on school breaks.
This doesn’t mean my kids aren’t asking me to stay up later because they do, a lot! But I know when they wake up in the morning, their bodies are recharged, their minds are refreshed and they’re ready for the day.
Here’s what works for me and I hope these steps can help you in creating a bedtime routine.
Setting Bedtimes (school nights vs weekends).
Setting a bedtime for your kids and sticking with it is probably the most important thing you have to do first. Then you can build the routine from there.
Since our kids are older, they have a set bedtime during school nights and a different bedtime on the weekends. Our girls go to bed at 7 pm on school nights & 8-8:30 on weekends. Our son’s bedtime is 9 pm on school nights and 10 on weekends.
This is a big one, you have to stay consistent with your bedtimes or your kids will always try to push it…and they will.😊
Creating the bedtime routine.
Now that you have your bedtimes nailed down, now it’s time to create the routine that leads up to it. Just like when they were babies!
A good routine that I’ve always used is shower, pajamas, brush teeth and quiet time before bed. Quiet time can be reading a book, watching cartoons or a movie on the couch… Something that is quieting down the body & mind.
If you are going to follow this method and their bedtime is going to be 7 pm, then you might want to start showers/baths at 5:45-6 pm. So you have time to complete everything without feeling rushed.
A general rule of thumb for me is to give my kids 30 minutes to watch a cartoon or quiet play before bed.
And if your child walks out or is crying or calling for you, remind them that it’s time for bed and you need to go to sleep.
Now I know this won’t always happen every night when they’re older due to afterschool activities, lessons, etc.
I get it. We had swim lessons last night and we didn’t get home til 6:30, so everything was pushed back 30 minutes and that’s ok, just pick up from there! We skipped cartoon time on that particular night.
Stuffed animals, Lovies, Blankets…
All my kids have a special stuffed animal and blanket they like to sleep with. Naomi sleeps with this every night and loves how soft it is and it’s machine washable!
I’ve always thought if it helps my kids sleep thru the night and I’m getting a good night sleep, then they can have all the stuffed animals!
My Favorite things that help with sleep.
Ok to Wake, Clock. This helps them know if it’s time to get up yet.
Lightup Stuffed Animal This was a gift from my Sister in Law and the girls love them!
Sound Machine Life Saver!
To recap, when starting a bedtime routine, the biggest thing is to be consistent! Set a bedtime and don’t rush it, because in my experience it usually takes longer for them to fall asleep when you rush them off to bed.
Do the bathing, the lotion, the PJs, brush the teeth, watch a cartoon or read a book and then off to bed!
Remember to stay calm and if they get up or are crying, remind them it’s bedtime and you need to go to sleep. Goodnight!