Putting Kids to Bed

image001 Kids’ sleep time is a relaxing and precious moment for any parent. However, getting to that moment is not easy and bedtime battles can take a toll on any parent. Kids always want to have a few more minutes to play, an extra snuggle and a few more stories. It helps to have a routine that tells kids it’s finally time to unwind. This routine requires plenty of notice and should be a celebration of the day. Sending your kids to sleep doesn’t need to be characterized by major battles.

Tips on Putting Kids to Bed

Many parents dread the idea of putting kids to bed. Bed time is characterized by fits and fights. This shouldn’t be the case. You can have a routine that makes kids’ bed time an enjoyable process and here’s how.

1. Set a Bed Time

Establish a bed time for all your kids. When setting the bed time, you need to consider the time your kids wake up as well as how long it takes your kids to fall asleep. If, for example, your kids need 10 hours of sleep in order to function properly, a good time to wake up would be at 7:00 a.m. If it takes your kids about half an hour to fall asleep, make 8:30 p.m. the set bed time so as to ensure they gets their good 10 hours of sleep.

2. Don't Put Kids to Bed to Late 

Don’t wait until your kids are sleepy to have them sleep. A major mistake parents make is putting their kids to sleep too late. This leads to an irregular sleep schedule in infants and toddlers. Letting your kids stay up late leads to an over-burn which makes it harder for them to fall asleep. This also makes them wake up earlier.

3. Improve Kids’ Sleep Environment

This is one the most important step when putting kids to bed. Analyze your child’s room and eliminate any distractions that may hinder him from falling asleep. You might want to set up blackout shades to keep out light. If the child’s room is near common rooms, noise could wake him up. Install a sound machine that will soothe him to sleep. It also helps to remove video games, laptops and TVs from his room as these may keep older children awake. Also ensure that the sleep area is safe especially for infants who can choke on small objects. Keep the crib free of toys, heavy blankets and toys as well.

4. Set a Timer to Remind Kids of Bed Time

Have a system where you remind the child of his sleep time. You can set a timer which plays as a constant reminder to the child that bed time is near.

5. Have a Bed Time Ritual That Is Comforting

This could be as simple as changing into pajamas half an hour before bed time, reading stories, having a bath, saying a prayer or even singing.

Give Kids a Bath Before Bed: It relaxes kids’ bodies and you may request your older kids to take warm showers an hour before bed and then change into their pajamas.

6. Keep Rooms Quiet Before Bedtime

Reduce noise in the house an hour before bed and dim or turn off the lights in rooms that are not being used. This automatically winds down kids as they know that bed time is near. It also removes distractive activities.

7. In the Last Hour

Here comes the final step in putting kids to bed. In the last hour, have your kids drink their final glass of water, brush their teeth and use the bathroom. You can also use this time to read a few stories. The UCLA Sleep Disorders Center encourages parents to take their kids to bed 10 to 30 minutes before bedtime. Tuck kids in and turn on the sound machine or lullabies. You can also use this time to talk with your kids. 

Click here to learn more tips to help your baby to sleep. You can learn more about how to put your kids to bed with this video:


Important Notes: How Much Sleep Should Kids Get?


Hours of Sleep

0 - 2 months

10.5 - 18

2 - 12 months

14 - 15

1 - 3 years

12 - 14

3 - 5 years

11 - 13

5 - 12 years

10 - 11

Some Common Facts and Myths About Kids’ Sleep

Studies reveal that about 37% of all children in the kindergarten to fourth grade age group experience at least one form of sleep disorder. Some of these disorders include: nightmares, sleep walking/sleep terror, sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Consult with the child’s physician if your kids have one or more of these sleep problems.

Myth #1: Allow Kids to Sleep on Their Stomachs

The “Back to Sleep” program tells us that kids should actually lie on their backs and not their stomachs. This lowers their risk of dying due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It’s also recommended that parents stop placing their kids in water beds, soft mattresses and surfaces as well as pillows.

Myth #2: Parents Should Take Kids to Bed After They Are Asleep

Kids should not be put to bed when they are sleepy. Instead, parents are required to have a sleep schedule as this enables kids to get enough sleep. Don’t wait until your kids are drowsy to put them to bed. Take them to bed while awake.

Myth #3: Kids Will Sleep Well Without a Nap

Naps and sleep are independent of each other, but both are essential. Naps make kids less cranky and encourage better sleep at night. Naps should last between half an hour and two hours and they should be discontinued from ages 2 to 5. The need for a nap past these ages should be investigated.