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Tips to Establish a Healthy Bedtime Routine

A structured bedtime routine can be extremely helpful for your child to know when it is time to wind down. Try some of these tips to facilitate the transition from play to sleep! Be sure to let your child know your expectations. For example, “first we will eat dinner, and then you will take a bath.”

1. Tablet time-out

Decide on a regular time to put away the electronics. For example, no iPad or TV time after dinner time. The blue light emitted from screens can stimulate your child’s brain and make them feel less sleepy.

2. Bathe and Brush

Taking a warm bath or shower can be very relaxing and refreshing. Washing off the day and being cool and clean will help your child get to sleep more easily! Help them brush their teeth so they know that time for eating is over, and now it’s time to get ready for bed!

3. PJ party

Make getting into pajamas enjoyable by listening to some music while your child changes. Listen to your child’s favorite songs or check out other bedtime playlists for kids! Once in their comfy PJs, you and your child can stretch, breathe, and relax to the rest of the song!

4. Calm Corner

Encourage your child to ‘rest their engine’ in a designated spot. Include calming sensory strategies such as a weighted blanket, a white noise machine, and/or soft lighting.

5. Storybook series

Read a story in bed or in your child’s calm corner as they begin to fall asleep. A simple chapter book or story series with the same characters can make bedtime exciting for your child. It gives them the opportunity to hear the next piece of the story each night, making bedtime more rewarding! You can also discuss what happened in the story the night before together.

6. Sensory Experiences

Think about the 5 senses (taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell) with your child and consider how they may play into their nighttime routine. For example, are certain PJ and sheet fabrics uncomfortable for them? What is the best noise level and amount of light in the room? What is the ideal temperature? Being mindful of what works best for your child will make a big difference in their comfort!

7. Consistency is Key!

No matter what your routine is, keeping consistency is super helpful for your child. Starting a routine at the same time (such as regular bedtimes every night) will let your child know what to expect!

Still having trouble getting your child to fall asleep and stay asleep? Our team of occupational therapists can provide you with individualized support and strategies to make sure everyone gets a good night sleep. Call 781-239-0100 or email to connect with an OT!

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