5 Bedtime Routine Mistakes to Avoid
Bedtime routines are crucial for a good night’s sleep for everyone — babies, toddlers, and parents. But if your little ones are still struggling to get to bed or fall asleep at night, there may be a few hiccups in your routine. Read on to learn more about the most common bedtime routine mistakes to avoid to ensure the entire family gets their much-needed rest.
Mistake #1: Not staying consistent
The entire purpose of a bedtime routine is to, well, make it routine. No matter their age, all children benefit from consistency. If you start their routine at different times each night, do the steps out of order, or skip it altogether, chances are you’ll disrupt their natural sleep patterns and overlook their sleep cues.
A successful bedtime routine begins at the same time each night, includes the same tasks — like a soothing bath, pajamas, and a bedtime story — and only lasts 15 to 30 minutes.
Mistake #2: Making exceptions
One reason bedtime routines are often inconsistent is that parents fall into the ‘just one more’ trap. It may look something like:
- Just one more story
- Just one more snuggle (this one gets all of us!)
- Just one more glass of water
- Just one more trip to the bathroom
- Just one more minute
Of course, it’s human nature to want to spend more time with your little one and give them what they need before bedtime. But making exceptions to the routine teaches children that the rules are flexible and essentially rewards them for not going to sleep — which is exactly what we want to avoid.
Mistake #3: Using bedtime as a punishment
As babies turn into toddlers and certain behaviors start to wear on us, it’s sometimes easier for parents to send them straight to bed without their usual rituals and routines. Trust me — I get it. However, forcing your kids to go to bed when they’re angry or frustrated can cause them to associate those feelings with sleep. Not to mention, they’ll start to see their bedroom as a place of punishment, not as a safe, soothing, and positive environment.
Mistake #4: Getting them excited
Playing games, watching TV, having a tickle fight — these are all fun activities to do with your little ones. Just not before bed. Those small moments of excitement can cause bursts of energy that are not conducive to falling asleep when they’re supposed to. Make sure your routine only consists of calming and soothing rituals, like dimming the lights, listening to soothing music, talking in quieter voices, and making gentle movements.
Mistake #5: Being afraid to ask for help
If you feel like you’ve tried it all and still can’t get your little ones to sleep, there’s no shame in asking for help! Sleep training your little ones is no easy feat, and sometimes you just need a helping hand. Especially if you have a newborn or very young child in the house.
That’s why I offer a complimentary sleep assessment (yes, even virtually!) to help everyone get back on track. Schedule a call with me to learn more about the Sleep by Rachelle method and how I can help you and your family get the sleep you need.