A calming bedtime ritual that follows a predictable pattern makes your kids understand when it's time for them to sleep--no ifs or buts. And truth be told, a good routine can be the difference between good sleep habits and...a lot of sleepless nights. For obvious reasons, we want the latter.
Teach them healthy sleep patterns, have an EASIER time as a parent to actually put them to bed (can't stress enough how hard that can be), and give them great memories growing up! Here are some ways you can get started.
Teach them the basics of hygiene and self-care
Good self-care and hygiene habits should start early, that's why bathing and basic skincare should be a part of your child's nighttime ritual. You know those tiny little hands are always reaching out for everything they can grab and that means they're always prone to germs. To clean your child's body, you can soak them in baths for 10-20 minutes. This is not only important for cleansing but is also ideal for rehydrating their skin. Use a mild soap that is fragrance-free and made with natural and organic ingredients. To further moisturize their skin, you can also apply a gentle moisturizer, which can help repair their skin and help increase hydration. Apply this after bathing, when the skin is still damp.
Don't forget oral care!
The last thing that your child's teeth should touch before bed is the toothbrush. In other words, brushing their teeth should be part of their nighttime ritual. As soon as you see a tooth in your baby's mouth you can start to brush! Use a smear (the size of a grain of rice) of natural and organic toothpaste two times per day. For children ages 3–6, you can use a pea-sized amount. It's recommended for them to brush their teeth for at least two minutes. Sounds like a lot of work? Consider offering a simple reward or creating a rewards chart to encourage your little one to brush their teeth for two minutes.
Teaching and letting your kids dress into their nightclothes by themselves is giving them the freedom to be more independent. Instruct them with the basics: Wear underwear, a shirt and pants. Let them choose what they want to wear. Organize their clothes somewhere accessible so they can easily take out what they need. This is also really good practice that you can't easily do during the day because you can't afford spare time for the morning rush.
Get ready for the next day together
Speaking of the morning rush, take the stress (or at least some) out of tomorrow morning by getting ready the night before. Have your kids pick out what they’re going to wear, organize the contents of their backpack, prepare their snacks.
Have time for connecting
Snuggle up! Consider this time a special space for your kids to use their voices and express themselves. Initiate a conversation about anything under the sun--their doubts or fears, funny stories or their favorite parts of the day. Just make sure to avoid pressuring them to answer direct questions like "how was school" or "who did you play with at recess?". Kids spend much of their days being talked to or taught, but it's essential to create some space for them to lead the conversations.
How about you? What rituals do your kids do before going to bed? Share them with us on Facebook!