Getting quality sleep in childhood is essential, however research has shown that around 20-30% of babies and toddlers struggle to sleep. Sleep is essential for their physical, emotional and cognitive development, which is why building a bedtime routine is important. Bedtime routines encompass a set of activities that are repeated every night before your little one goes to sleep. The consistent routine will help prepare your child before bed, by helping them unwind and relax. A routine can also give your child a sense of security, and will also teach them how to get to sleep by themselves. Research conducted on children that follow a consistent bedtime routine shows that the children are more likely to get to sleep quicker, earlier, for longer and will wake up fewer times in the night.
How do I build a bedtime routine for my child?
Take some time planning out your routine and think about what will work best for you and your child. Start by working out what time you will start your routine, ideally this should be an hour before your child goes to sleep. A bath around 30 minutes before their bed can help to promote sleepiness and the decrease in their body temperature after the bath will help them to fall asleep quicker.
A child’s bedtime routine normally consists of around three to four activities, such as having a bath, brushing their teeth and reading their book. P.s. make sure you do these activities in the same order every evening! To make the routine as effective as possible, you can start by winding down their environment by dimming the lights and turning off all screens an hour or so before their bedtime routine starts.
These are just a few bedtime activities that you could add to your child’s routine, that have been shown to help them get to sleep quicker.
- Bottle or breastfeeding
- Bathing them
- Picking out their bedtime clothes
- Packing away their toys
- Brushing their teeth
- Reading them a book
- Listening to My Little Morphée
- Singing them a lullaby
- Talking about their day
Aim to leave the room whilst your child is sleepy, but not fully asleep. This will help them to fall asleep on their own, and it will stop them worrying if they wake up in the night and you’re not there.
My Little Morphée
If you’re new to the Morphée tribe then welcome! Both our adult and child Morphée’s have been created by leading experts to help you relax, unwind and fall asleep faster. My Little Morphée has been designed for children aged three to eight, and it is our screen-free sleep aid. My Little Morphée contains 192 meditative sessions for your child to listen to. These sessions include visualisations, relaxation, breathing exercises and guided meditation. If your child likes to listen to stories before bedtime, My Little Morphée contains 128 soothing visual journeys for your child to choose from.
My Little Morphée is special because it’s not just a bedtime product, it can be used at any point during the day to help your children relax and unwind. Let’s take a look at some of our wonderful reviews.
I am huge on calm time and meditation in our house so I loved the look of this immediately. Bought as a combined Christmas present for my 4 and 6 years olds and they instantly fell in love. The 4 year old carries it all around the house. We play it every night to go to bed but they put it on themselves while they're colouring or playing in their room. A huge hit. So well designed. Light weight. A lovely colour and a love variety all controlled by the user. Huge fan here!!
We were struggling to calm down our 4 year old at bedtime (the usual stories just weren’t cutting it!) and were at a loss at what to do. This product has totally transformed our bedtime routine. He now looks forward to a different meditation every evening or just listening to the calming sounds of nature. It’s also a lovely way for us to relax with him at the end of the day. Thank you for this genius concept - a total game changer for overactive little minds!
Bedtime do's and don'ts
Every child is different and what works for someone else might not work for you and visa versa - so it is all about trial and error. There are certain activities that can be seen as counterproductive to sleep, here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to building a bedtime routine.
- Do the bedtime routine everyday - a kids routine should follow the same steps every night, or as many nights as possible.
- Keep it short and sweet - most bedtime routines should last between 30 minutes to an hour, or a little longer when a bath is included. If you have a very long bedtime routine, it can make it harder to implement it on the days when you don’t have much time.
- Listen to your child - bedtime routines are all about trial and error and if one of the bedtime activities isn’t working for them, then you should replace it with something else that they would prefer.
- Follow sleep hygiene rules - try to keep the bedroom as dark as possible to promote sleep. If you have a child that’s scared of the dark, you can add a dim night-light into their room.
- Let them use screens - the blue light emitted by a TV, iPad or any other electronic device with a screen can delay sleep. The blue light will affect the circadian rhythm, an internal body clock that tells your body when it’s ready to sleep by emitting melatonin.
- Give them sugary treats or caffeine - try to make sure that evening snacks are healthy and light. Caffeine and sugary treats can keep your child up at night and make it difficult for them to get to sleep.
- Read them scary stories - this is probably a given, but scary stories can be mentally and physically overstimulating for a child and can cause them to have nightmares.
Remember every bedtime routine will be different for each child, work out what works for you and your child and if a few of the activities in the routine needs changing then that’s ok!