Nurturing Bedtime Routines

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Bedtime can be a struggle for both children and caregivers. By the end of a long day children are in need of a good night’s sleep and caregivers may be in need of some time for themselves.  A nurturing bedtime routine can not only help make bedtime easier but enjoyable. 

Think about your bedtime routine when you were child. What was it like? How did you feel? Which parts would you like to incorporate or leave out? Most importantly, how do you want your child to feel when they go to sleep each night and how can you help set that up for them? 

Listed below are some ideas you may find helpful when creating a nurturing bedtime routine for your child. 

  • If possible, create a bed time routine with your child’s input. Involving your child in the process gives them a sense of ownership as well as helps them be more accountable. 
  • Set a clear cut time that children need to be in their beds. There may be a rare exception but try to keep the exceptions to a minimum.

  • Provide a transition time. Let children know in 10-15 minutes it will be time to begin getting ready for bed. Many parents have success with setting a timer or even better, allowing the child to set a timer for that allotted transition time. 

  • Build in time for a bath/shower and brushing teeth. 

  • Build in time for a story that will comfort your child.

  • Tell a power story. Make your child the main character and recap their day. This is a great opportunity to label feelings, offer encouragement and praise all of your child’s amazing qualities.  

  • Leaving a nightlight on or playing soft music are also options you could use to encourage sleep.

  • If your child has difficulty getting to sleep encourage them to think about things they love. They could count them out or use the alphabet as a guide. 

  • Many children will take this time to talk about things that may be bothering them. Build in time to listen. Talking relieves anxiety and your supportive listening will go a long way in helping your child feel more comfortable. 

  • Keep in mind that night time fears are real for children and almost all children go through times when they are afraid of the dark. Instead of telling your child there is nothing to be afraid of try asking them what you can do to help them feel more comfortable/safe.

  • Leave the room on a positive note letting your child know how much they are loved. 


Thank you to our Nurturing Parenting Program for assisting us with great tips to share with our followers, supporters and families. To learn more about the NPP program, visit their page.