As part of this month’s #MomTalkTuesday, I’m tackling the topic of sleep habits. Three years and two kids into this thing, I’ve gathered a few tips and tricks that have helped me create a bedtime routine for the kiddos. Why is having a bedtime routine so important? Because it allows your children to establish healthy habits built on consistency. Here are 7 healthy bedtime habits that I do with Johanna and Patrick every night to help prepare them for bedtime.
7 HEALTHY BEDTIME HABITS
1. We have bathtime
It’s the perfect wind-down activity. The warm water helps to soothe them, in addition to helping clean off all the grime and miscellaneous food particles from earlier in the day. Truly, there is no better feeling than crawling into bed all nice and clean.
2. We put on their pajamas
Other than the fact that they (obviously) need something to wear to bed, having the kids put on pajamas helps to send a message to their brain that it’s time for bed.
3. We have a snack
This is really because Johanna demands one and tells us that she’s starving (even if she’s eaten a really good dinner). So, we started to include this in our nightly routine.
For us, we have found that giving her snacks that are protein-based, and/or don’t have a lot of artificial sugars in them, work really well. Some examples of this are yogurt, a smoothie, almonds, cottage cheese, or fruit.
4. We brush their teeth
This is important for two reasons. 1) This signals that snack time is over, and, 2) it establishes the lifelong habit of brushing their teeth.
5. We have story time
You can do this while your child is in bed or sitting in a chair. Johanna prefers the chair because she can sit in our laps while we read to her!
Something we let both kids do is to pick out 3 books each night for us to read. In Johanna’s room, we have a huge basket full of books sitting next to the chair that we allow her to pick from. In Patrick’s room, we have three shelves full of books, which he is able to reach or point to.
We give them the parameters of 3 books, and then give them the choice of which books those are. Giving Johanna and Patrick tiny decisions like this allows them to feel like they have some sort of say during, and thus a bit of control over, their bedtime routine!
6. We create a peaceful sleeping environment
This could be anything- from drawing the shades on the windows, to turning the white noise on. For Johanna, we always do several things once she’s sitting up in bed: we spray her pillow with a spray I made using essential oils that are clinically shown to promote restful sleep. Once that’s done, we set her alarm for the next morning, and say our prayers.
7. We give goodnight kisses
I say kisses, because what starts out as one kiss ends up turning into about 8-10 kisses and hugs. As I inch my way to the door, Johanna demands more of them. But honestly, I love showering my kids with kisses. I know they won’t always love getting them from us, so I try to take advantage of the time in their lives when they do!
The goal is that after completing these nightly habits, your child is ready for bed! Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely nights when Johanna or Patrick wake up several times throughout the night, or have trouble falling asleep, just like every kid. But, for the most part, their nights are uneventful, and they stay asleep.
Which habits have you established with your kiddos to help them go to bed?