Top 10 tips for a better bedtime routine for your kids

Imagine it. It’s 8:30 and you tiptoe up to the kids’ bedrooms. What greets you is complete silence. Their little, angelic, sleeping faces the picture of calm. This could be your house.

Only you know how close to reality this is for you. Bedtime can be a battle for parents and every parent knows that without good sleep the next day can be even more difficult, with grouchy, lethargic kids to cope with.

The immediate benefits of sleep, like better mood and better ability to concentrate, are clear. You know sleep is important, but maybe it’s even more than you thought. Children who don’t get enough sleep are also at higher risk of becoming overweight later in life.

So if you are struggling with your child’s sleep it’s time to make a plan.

  1. Start by weighing up the costs and benefits - What is this change going to cost you, for example effort or time, and how are you going to benefit (less moody kids/more time for you/less stressful bed time in the long run/better long term health)?
  2. Get a handle on how much sleep your kids are actually getting – You might be surprised.
  3. Know the facts - How much sleep does your child need to stay healthy? 
  4. Commit to establishing a new routine. It can be done and if it seems too much of a challenge at first, look at how you could do it gradually.
  5. Set a bedtime routine – most parents say this is the best way to take the pain out of bedtime. Use prompts and cues to help you with that. You can set an alarm on your phone for when you need to start, for example.
  6. Be prepared - this can be a bad time of the day if you are tired. Try to be conscious of your own state of mind and keep relaxed, but firm.
  7. Remove barriers to getting the kids to bed – in lots of houses these days, that means getting rid of the screens - take out the tablet, switch off the telly and shut down the wifi.
  8. Be a role model – try not to be glued to your own devices. The chances are that you will need to improve your own sleep patterns too, so include yourself in the challenge.
  9. Use incentives and rewards to help encourage your children to stick with the new routine. For smaller kids a reward chart might help. For older kids you’ll know yourself what’s appropriate and what they are in to.
  10. Create a social norm - talk to other parents you know about bed times – it will be easier if lots of the kids around you have the same restrictions and routines. 

hours sleep needed by kids


Posted: 30/04/2015 15:37:30 by Aileen McGloin
Filed under: Campaigns, Childhood obesity, Sleep

About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.