Bedtime routines are essential for getting the appropriate amount of sleep each night. Lack of sleep within children can disrupt the important cycles their bodies go through to help with development, attention and so much more. Creating a bedtime routine doesn’t have to be difficult, just utilize these tips and your child will be snoozing in no time.
Whichever tip you decide to implement, the most important is consistency. Providing a predictable bedtime routine that is consistent allows your child to understand the sequence of events that lead up to the point of going to sleep. Utilizing verbal reminders, prompts or a visual schedule of the tasks that need to be completed before bed, help with active engagement as well as relieving anxiety.
Calm Down Time
Relaxation is an important step in falling asleep. Provide a time before bed where your child is away from alerting stimuli like a TV, iPad, or phone screen. Reading books, picking up toys, or listening to calming music is much more appropriate for a bedtime routine.
Meditation is a great way to clear the mind to decrease anxiety before going to sleep. Here are some examples to implement within your bedtime routine:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Guided imagery
Changes to your child’s sleep environment is an easy and great way to make your child comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Weighted blanket/compression sheets: Utilizing a weighted blanket or compression sheets can provide the proprioceptive input children crave as they sleep. This simple change can decrease anxiety and provide a calming effect to better facilitate a good night’s sleep.
- Light level: Utilize curtains to block out light. A dark room helps the body recognize that it is time to sleep.
- White noise: Static noise can block out other sounds within the environment that may be disruptive.
- Soothing Scents: Scents like lavender or other calming smells can help relax your child before bedtime.
If your child has difficulty following a bedtime routine or has continued trouble falling asleep, please do not hesitate to contact the office at BDI Playhouse Children’s Therapy to receive a free occupational therapy screening.
Written by Kiersten Robertson, MOT, OTR/L