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Bedtime: an oasis or a total struggle for kids and adults alike. Research shows when kids don't get enough sleep, they can experience growth issues, developmental problems, and moodiness. Getting the right amount and quality of sleep can be difficult, so establishing a great bedtime routine is essential from Day 1!
The best bedtime routine for kids is a consistent, yet fun wind-down. It’s okay to throw in something new occasionally, but an unpredictable night routine can cause an uneven sleep schedule. So do a little experimenting and let your kids decide what works best for them.
Depending on you child's age, they need anywhere from 8 to 14 hours of sleep a day. Younger children especially need sleep in the double digits, but it can be hard to get them to settle down for the night.
For the best bedtime routine for kids, pick three or four regular activities prior to the official goodnight. This could differ based on your child’s age, abilities, or interests. Discover what brings the best sense of peace and relaxation for your kids.
Is your kid imaginative and creative? Choose activities that engage their crafty minds. Are they wiggly? Consider doing some relaxing physical activities. Or mix and match for everyone in the family to get the routine they need!
Brushing teeth is a required step in anyone’s bedtime routine. And if it isn’t in yours, we’ll be standing RIGHT next to you until you do.
We mean it.
If it’s your little ones that find teeth brushing time to be unpleasant and boring, there are some ways to create their own fun:
1. Long gone are the days where your only toothpaste option is mint. Use a themed toothbrush and toothpaste with a fun design and delicious taste! Try out BURST kids' dental hygiene products for fair pairings.
2. Play a song that is at least two minutes long to show your child how long they should brush. Make sure it’s both a song they enjoy and is soothing. They may really love the latest pop hit, but it may be a little too upbeat for bedtime. Save it for the morning routine!
3. Start a reward system for completing their teeth brushing the right way with stickers or other fun incentives. For older kids, add a sticker to a chart that adds up to an ultimate prize, like a trip to their favorite store or more playtime outside.
Playtime may be over, but imagination can take anyone straight to a new level of play in Dreamland! A bedtime adventure is the perfect way of sailing into new worlds and ultimately, to great sleep.
There are a couple of ways to incorporate BIG imagination in bedtime rituals:
1. A favorite book before bedtime allows for children to imagine themselves in new places or as the characters themselves.
2. Add a comfy, fun canopy over the bed to transform their sleep space into a new world! (May we suggest our new Cozy Cottage Bed Canopy?)
3. Get a fun lamp or nighttime projector with fun shapes like stars to watch as they fall asleep. They can imagine themselves floating in space or napping in a forest with fairies!
Washing off the day’s dirt can be both hygienic and relaxing! Settling down with a cozy bath routine can include fun water toys and a comforting children’s bubble bath formula. Use gentle, calming bubble baths with scents like lavender, vanilla, oatmeal, or chamomile. Our personal pick is Alaffia’s Kids Bubble Bath in Lemon Lavender.
Playing or singing songs during bathtime can also relax your child, so long as they are soothing. Upbeat, cheery tracks are best left for the morning or midday!
A fun activity for the whole family, from the littlest to the grown-up-est members! Yoga has been used as a bedtime wind-down and as a treatment for sleep issues for a long time, so why not try it for yourself?
First, find a separate space where everyone can comfortably do their poses. Here are a few simple poses for both kids and adults to use for pre-bedtime routine:
1. “L” – With your legs straight up on the wall, make and hold an “L” shape.
2. “Low Cobra” – Regular Cobra poses are a bit more intense, but the adapted version is great for everyone to practice. Lay on your belly and raise your upper back and head. Support yourself with your lower back muscles and your palms balancing on the ground.
3. “Mummy Pose” – Technically, this is called a corpse pose. But that’s a little creepy. Mummies are a fun kind of creepy. Lie on the floor (preferably with a yoga mat or other soft surface) on your back. Put your arms at your side, palms up, and legs straight.
You can also swap with family meditation, Pilates, or other relaxing physical activities.
Note: Avoid any overly active and cardio-based activities, because they will make your child antsy.
Journaling can provide a creative outlet to let out the extra wiggles and word worms still dancing through their minds.
Research shows that writing for five minutes before bed can hasten and improve sleep. It’s most effective when writing a “To-Do” list for the next day, though kids can write about anything they desire. Have them write a list of places they’d like to go, what they would like to dream about, and so much more.
They can use their list to guide their day or reflect on what they were able to accomplish. And even if they didn't achieve everything, they can add it to the following night's list!
Coloring or drawing at any time of day give kids a creative outlet and opportunities to build motor skills. Even for adults, coloring can be a relaxing experience. Buying coloring books or printing out coloring pages for your kids to have on hand prior to bedtime can calm their systems and prepare them for going to sleep.
What is your favorite activity to include in a bedtime routine for kids? Share it with us on social media @hearthsong_toys!