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Top 10 Children’s Bedtime Rituals

By Editorial Staff

Contributed by Rachelle Dawson, Info Guru

Experts recommend consistency before bedtime to encourage better sleep in children. Of course, having well rested kids is not just a matter of choosing children’s bedtime rituals.

It also depends on them getting enough hours of sleep each night, so start the bedtime rituals early enough to give your child the hours he or she needs. According the University of Michigan Health System, you can assume children are getting enough sleep if they fall asleep easily, wake up easily, and stay alert during school.

Here are some ideas for children’s bedtime rituals, starting with #10 and moving up to #1:

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10. Pick up

For tips on getting and staying organized with children’s toys, see “Eight Great Tips to Organize Kids’ Rooms.” Making pick-up a part of the bedtime routine has several benefits: you get help cleaning, you teach the kiddos how pick up after themselves, and you signal that playtime is ending.

9. Have a bath

Baths are popular as children’s bedtime rituals because the warm water can be soothing. But there’s nothing magical about the bath, and you may wish to forego it if your child gets too wild in the tub. If a bath is part of your bedtime routine, remember to closely supervise babies and young children. For more information, read up on water safety tips. Older children may enjoy playing in the bathtub before getting washed up. To prevent this from becoming an hour-long diversion from bedtime, you may set a timer so the child knows when playtime is up.

8. Brush teeth

Help your kids brush their teeth and attend to any other health or hygiene needs.

7. Read books

Reading can be an excellent way to enjoy quality time together and settle down for sleep. It’s also a top pick for children’s bedtime rituals because you can read to several children at the same time and create a fun family time. Don’t know where to start? Subscribe to favorite children’s magazines for hours of reading fun, conversation-starters and learning games. Then, check out recommended reading lists by or the National Education Association.

6. Talk about the day

Discuss with your children how their days went. If they reveal any problems, struggles, or concerns, work with them toward a solution. If they report good things, take a moment to celebrate with them. You might also try to find something to praise your children for. Catch them doing something kind, thank them for their help with dinner or for not complaining about their chores, or remind them of their good qualities.

5. Pray

Many families choose to make prayer a part of their children’s bedtime rituals. This can be another time to address your children’s concerns and remember the needs of other people you know. Prayer can also help calm their fears before bedtime. If you want to try some more creative ideas for teaching kids about prayer, check out the Ink It Blog.

4. Hug and kiss

Physical affection is a great way to make the kids feel secure and loved before they drift off to sleep.

3. Have alone time

Some parents choose to spend a few minutes of alone time with each child. This might be a particularly important part of your children’s bedtime rituals if you don’t see them much during the day, or if they always seem to be competing for your attention.

2. Play music or sing

Soothing music can help some kids drift off to sleep more easily. You may choose to sing yourself or play a CD. Look for collections of lullabies and children’s songs, but do make sure all the songs are soothing. You wouldn’t want your little one to get all relaxed only to have a noisy, up-beat piece come on and undo all your hard work.

1. Say “good night”

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“Good night” may be the final signal that your children’s bedtime rituals are about to end. They might say good night to you, their siblings, or a favorite teddy. This can also be a good time to tell your kids, “I love you.”


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