In our last post we talked about the importance of developing a family bedtime routine and the challenge that can present when the children in a family have different sleep requirements. Children thrive on consistency. Routine provides a rhythm to their days and nights that makes children feel safe and secure. Successful kid sleep training is dependent upon establishing a consistent bedtime routine.
To develop a successful bedtime routine that works for the whole family while still accommodating the specific sleep needs of individual children, follow these steps:
- Create a basic bedtime schedule based on the usual series of events that occur in your home between dinner and bedtime. A typical schedule might include eating dinner together, dinnertime chores, after supper activities (such as taking a walk, playing quietly or completing schoolwork), bath time, bedtime stories, listening to prayers, and goodnight kisses.
- Take into consideration the particular needs of each child. Allowances will have to be made for infants until they are able to sleep through the night. Younger children who require more sleep will need to be tucked in earlier than older children. Active toddlers may need an after-dinner walk or bike ride to burn off energy before bedtime. Where possible, incorporate individual needs into the basic family schedule. For example, if your active toddler needs a walk before bedtime, make it a family affair.
- Determine appropriate bedtimes and bedtime activities based on children’s sleep requirements and stick to it.