establish a bedtime routine




The importance of sleep cannot be overstated.  Quality sleep is as important to our health as proper nutrition and physical activity. Whilst it may seem like just an opportunity to rest (and it is), our very clever bodies and brains continue vital processes to keep us in optimal health. When we sleep our muscles, skin and other tissues repair, our immune system fights off intruders and our bodies grow!  Our brains work hard too! It moves into storage all the knowledge we've learned that day, solves problems and helps us to be more creative and learn better. But if this isn't enough, it also helps our mood and emotions. Have you ever felt grumpy or less able to cope with life when you've missed a little sleep?

 

With this is mind, establishing a bedtime routine is critical. Predictable routines give children confidence and security in knowing what comes next at bedtime. It creates positive feelings around going to sleep, helps your child get to sleep quicker and experience better quality sleep.  This routine is just as vital for older children too!  

 

'An important part of being independent is having the skills to settle yourself down when you are tired or stressed. Bedtime routines help children learn to transition from the busy activity of the day to settling down for sleep. Bedtime is a time to teach children how to soothe themselves and how to relax. Help them learn a few relaxation tricks like tensing and releasing muscles or thinking about a favorite place. This is a gift they’ll use forever.' 

                                                                                                                                    Dr Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D

Tips for a relaxing fuss-free bedtime

  • establish a time for bed and be consistent (even on weekends)

  • start preparing for bed 30 mins before lights out

  • have a predictable sequence before bed (for example dinner, bath, pj's on, reading books or storytelling, lights out, quiet conversation, creative visualisations, sleep)

  • allow your child to have a toy or object to comfort them that's reserved for bedtime

  • avoid television and screen time at least an hour before bed

  • don't stress if routine doesn't quite go to plan, keep it a positive experience

  • be gentle yet firm, children will gain confidence from this

 

A dream puff is 'tool' used to create an association between an object, imagination and sleep. Whilst any comforting toy or object could be used, creating this connection for a child with a purpose specific toy can strengthen the concept. It also encourages your child to become part of the mydreampuff community and share their 'sleep time stories' with us where they will be published on our blog.

submit stories to mydreampuff@bigpond.com

 

References  
https://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/AboutOT/consumers/Youth/BedroomRoutineTipSheet.pdf
https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-value-of-a-childs-bedtime-routine/
http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/why.html