How to get your child into a routine

Being a parent is extremely rewarding but it does come with is many challenges. In the beginning, you find yourself with plenty of free time as your newborn ‘sleeps. Over time they begin to be awake more, and you find yourself with less and less free time. So, how will getting my child into a routine will help?

Your own routine, work, and social life get’s put on hold because of night feeds, nappy changes, breastfeeding, etc. At the beginning feeding your baby milk is one of the first types of routine, they will wake up during the night around the same time for their feed. This is only the start and more routine can be implemented after they start sleeping through the night without waking up for a feed.

What’s the definition and synonyms of routine?

scheduled routine

The definition of the word routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. Synonyms of the word include: the procedure, practice, pattern, drill, regime, regimen, groove; program, schedule, plan; formula, method, system, order; ways, customs, habits

The importance of routine for children

A routine can make it feel like we have more control, it has been studied that it is good for our mental health. To form healthy habits and to reduce stress levels for adults and children. Children can act up and behave poorly if they lack routine, the most common reason for this is if they are staying up late and don’t have a set bedtime.

They will likely be tired, grumpy and disruptive because of the lack of sleep. Another similar example is if they are not having main meals at the same time each day – I’m an adult and I can be extremely moody if I haven’t eaten my dinner at the usual time.

What types of routine?

There are many types of routine that come with different benefits such as daily routines, and those specifically for morning and bedtime.

Daily routines

Things that your little one will routinely do every day, this covers for example (Dance class on Thursdays at the specified time) or school Monday to Friday.

Morning routines

Morning routines cover the basis of repeating set tasks when waking up. These include but are not limited to: washing your face, brushing teeth, getting ready for school, getting dressed for school.

Bedtime routines

This encourages a set bedtime, by having a set time, your child will likely start to feel tired at this specific time as they will get used to completing these rituals before bed. Things to do before bed include; washing face, brushing teeth, and reading a book. (which is really good for helping them relax after a long day and unwind.)

3 tips for getting your child into a routine

1. Be persistent

It’s never too late to start adding a routine to your child’s life. You can start to add structure to help them get into going to bed the same time each night, the trick here is to be persistent. If you miss just one day of this routine a week, you would be letting the whole thing fall apart.

2. Take charge

Whilst you can sometimes be your Childs friend, you must step away from that zone sometimes and be the parent that is in charge. If you are their friend all the time it is likely they will not listen to you all the time. The balance between both but don’t let them make you a pushover. Don’t give in to the “but please just 10 more minutes hack.”

3. Use logic and explain why

Explain everything, teaching your child will make them smart. If they know why they are more likely to actually want to do it. Tell them why they need to go to sleep, how bad it is for your health to not sleep properly, why they should brush their teeth in the morning, do they want their teeth to fall out? If they skip a meal they will be moody, but don’t just think it, make it known. Getting your child into a routine can be difficult but once they are, it will be so worth it.

Does your child need a bedtime routine?

Some children are very good at going to bed and others not so much. Kids at bedtime can sometimes be destructive having tantrums as part of their refusal. Whilst this may be down to the individuality of each child. The major factor has been known to be due to the lack of a bedtime routine. A structured routine is very important and should not be underestimated.

After all, children subconsciously love routine as it helps restore balance. They experience things each night as and when they expect them to happen. Whilst the world does not always work like this, a routine can provide peace of mind and at night time can help your child go to sleep without worry.

What bedtime routine for a child?

 What bedtime routine for a child?

When starting a bedtime routine for children aged between 4 months & 24 months. Singing soft lullabies or playing lullaby music can be a great way to show them that it is bedtime. Repeating this each night will help them to realise that it is time to go to sleep.

Discussing their day is a great way to clear their mind ready for bed, however, you should try avoid talking about the next day as it could provoke either over excitement or worry. Reading a book before bed, brushing teeth, washing hands, face or taking a bath are good things to do.

taking a bath

You do not have to do all of these things but they can be beneficial. Knowing the things that you could do is not the most important, actual Implementation is the key. Brushing teeth is mandatory as your child’s teeth are at risk of staining, a plaque build up and other types of dental-related problems.

You should also let them drink 30 minutes before bed to avoid them staying up at night due to constantly needing to use the toilet. Warm milk has been used for a long time as it contains an amino acid that helps the human body produce serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that can help induce a restful sleep because of the production of melatonin.

You should encourage brushing when they wake up and before they go to bed. Washing face and hands is important for general hygiene although it is great to add it to part of a bedtime routine as water can help freshen your face, removing bacteria from hands and also any type of self-care can make you feel good even for adults.

Whilst children shouldn’t have technologies anyway, having it before bed has been well known to keep your brain awake, and this is not just specific to mobile phones but also to television. A bath has been shown to significantly help your children fall asleep at night time, this is because of the change in temperatures and the effect that it has on reducing stress levels. Eating before bed is also never a good thing as it can sit on your stomach making you feel uneasy, and can possibly cause nightmares.

What time should kids go to bed?

What time should kids go to bed?

It depends on many factors including their age, what time they woke up in the morning, as well as whether they are at school the next day, etc.

  • Babies aged three months old require around 14 hours of sleep
  • Infants aged between 4-11 months require 12 hours’ sleep
  • Toddlers aged 1-3 years old need around 11 hours of sleep
  • Children aged 6 years plus need between 9 hours of sleep

As they get older they start to sleep less and less, which makes it even more important to take back the control now and get your child into a bedtime routine.

Do kids need a bedtime book?

Do kids need a bedtime book?

There is nothing quite like a bedtime story to unwind from a long day, helping you escape into a world of imagination. If you start reading quite sometime before bedtime, reading a book whilst sitting together can be a wonderful bonding experience.

If it is late and you are trying to encourage your child to go to sleep. You should ensure that you do not make the book too exciting and if possible use somewhat of a monotonous voice. This will help your child to feel sleepy as they listen to your reading.

Things can get stale if you read the same book each night so I would highly recommend taking a trip to the library to borrow several new books for each night. This will stop bedtime being this thing that your child dreads and will help make bedtime exciting again. Reading is so important especially before bed. It has been shown to reduce stress levels which is the most beneficial before bed and will definitely help them sleep better during the night.

Up next: When do children learn to read? 

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