Healthy early childhood development depends on several factors, one of which being a well-established bed time routine.
A consistent bedtime routine encourages regulated and normal sleeping patterns. However, many parents will agree that establishing these routines is much easier said than done, in most cases.
However, being consistent in your child’s bedtime routine will result in it becoming an easier task. This routine helps your child to prepare both mentally and physically to move from their daytime activities to a restful state in order to sleep peacefully.
Why is a bedtime routine important for a child?
Sleep is extremely important for everyone, especially children. Adequate sleep allows their bodies to recharge for the next day.
There is also a lot of physiological growth and development that takes place during shut eye. It’s no secret that sleep is good for physical, mental and emotional health.
Studies have shown that children who have adequate amounts of sleep have improved memory, learning abilities and overall behaviour.
6 Reasons why your child needs enough sleep
- Sleep improves the immune system
- Sleep improves mood as well as memory and concentration
- It helps build brain cells, improving cognitive ability
- Sleep repairs and rebuilds the cells in the body
- Adequate sleep helps maintain healthy weight
- Sleep minimises hyperactivity
It’s easy to see how sleep plays a crucial role in child development which will assist your child in going through all the necessary child development stages with more ease.
Now that we understand the importance of sleep, the next step is to figure out how to establish a healthy bedtime routine in order to ensure your little one gets all the rest they need.
How to establish a consistent bedtime routine
- Majority of the routine should take place in your child’s bedroom. This helps them settle into their own, quiet environment.
- Establish what part of the routine is more exciting for your child. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some children get excited during bath time, other children may find it more relaxing. If bath time excites your child, make sure you do that early in the evening rather than later.
- Make sure that your child’s bed and sleeping area are clear of any distractions such as toys or other things which may take their attention away from getting straight into bed when it comes to that time. However, allowing them to have their favourite teddy bear as a means of comfort may actually help them relax.
- Draw up a fun checklist or schedule that provides a step-by-step breakdown of the routine. As you complete each step, check it off with your child. Children tend to respond better to something they are able to actually visualise.
- Avoid having any form of electronics in your child’s room. This includes TV’s, tablets or computers. Allowing screen time when it’s bedtime will over stimulate your child’s mind and therefore sleep becomes more challenging.
- If your child is afraid of sleeping alone or is afraid of the dark, having a spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of lavender oil to spray around the room as part of the bedtime routine may help calm your child down as he settles into bed.
- Make sure your child’s room is at a cool temperature. Children who are getting too hot will struggle to sleep peacefully throughout the night.
- If your child calls out for you, wait some time before you answer them. Wait a little longer each time. This “waiting” time allows your child to fall asleep on his own without being dependent on your presence.
There are several additional factors which contribute to healthy, early childhood development. These include things like physical activity, a healthy diet, development of social skills and of course, adequate sleep.
The best approach your child’s development is to treat it holistically, by paying equal attention to every sphere of early childhood development.
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