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Bedtime Rituals for Preschoolers

by T Akery | July 22nd, 2014 | Behavior, Preschool

young-57480_640The act of getting a Preschooler to bed is a difficult one. Often, they are over-excited by the day’s events and, to top it off, have had a nap. But it is important to establish rituals that signal that it is time to calm down and get ready for bedtime. This bedtime routine will help your Preschooler understand that it is time for bed so that they can get all the rest they need for a full day of Preschool tomorrow.

When building up a ritual it is important to define what activities will get your Preschooler in the mood for sleep. This includes looking at things like bath time, a quiet story and a light snack. It is also important to define activities which will prevent them from sleeping, such as too much sugar before bedtime or a movie that gets them too stimulated. This will help you figure out what activities you need to incorporate and which ones to avoid before bedtime.

Another thing to consider is how long these rituals will take in regards to getting your Preschooler to bed at that right time. Some things such as bath time will take longer to do than a short story. It is simply a matter of figuring out how long it will take to get your Preschooler sleepy enough to go to bed. While it doesn’t have to start at a certain time, it does need to be long enough to allow your Preschooler time to wind down from the day.

When you think you have an ideal routine, start by trying it out on Friday night rather than Sunday night. This will give you time to make the necessary adjustments and determine the things that are and aren’t working for your Preschooler. You should be flexible enough to adapt to any changes that might be needed. For example, if that bath is causing them to wake up rather than nod off, you might want to move up bath time to before dinner or right after dinner. Different things will work for different children. So, the routine you may have had for your older child might not work quite as well for the younger one.

You do want a little flexibility in your Preschooler’s nighttime routine for the day’s events. If they spent all day indoors or had an extra long nap, it might take a little longer for them to get to bed and require a few more calming activities. If they spent all day running outside, then you might not need to put them through the entire routine for bed. In that case, you want to prioritize the most important activities and save the other stuff for later.

Establishing a bedtime ritual is important. It is also important to ensure that the activities are calming to them. Since Preschoolers are different, what works for one might not always work for the other.

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