6 Simple Ideas for Bedtime Rituals

“Bedtime is a monumental moment to a baby or toddler, a time of transition in which parents hold nearly shamanistic power to tame the forces of darkness.” — Meg Cox, from the Book The Heart of A Family, p. 213

Bedtime provides a time of connection for parent and child. As children grow, it is a time when parents find out what is really going on in their children’s lives.

Here are 6 Simple Bedtime Rituals to Share with Your Children:

1. Reading – Not only does reading with young children improve literacy, but it can also create a relaxing moment for the two of you which helps everyone get in a sleepy mood.
2. Listening to crickets – What a beautiful way to build bonding, whether you actually listen to crickets, listen to a favorite CD or song, or even watch the stars out a window, you’re building special memories, as well as those precious rituals that help children connect to you and be more cooperative throughout the day.
3. Inventing Stories – Telling stories at bedtime not only sets the stage for sleepiness but is also a very helpful means of building literacy skills as your child learns about story structures and practices important auditory skills.
4. Singing – Whether or not you think you can carry a tune, hearing you sing is one of the most precious gifts you can give to your child.  Believe me, there is no voice in the world more special to your child than your own.
5. Bedtime checklist (get a drink, go potty, kiss and hug, turn out the light) – A checklist can help limit some of the constant jumping out of bed.
6. Back scratches and foot rubs – Bathtime and bedtime can be a great time to practice massage or intentional touch, even if it’s just a gentle backrub.  In fact, touch is essential to your child’s physical and emotional health and well-being.  Incorporating it into daily routines ensures that you’ll be making time to provide this all important loving touch on a regular basis.

For more information on bedtime rituals and/or help with getting young children to sleep check out one of these books:
Heathy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth
The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley*
Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka*
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and
The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems by Tracy Hogg

*Both of these books deal with older children as well as young babies or exist in another edition devoted to toddlers and preschoolers.

If you have another great bedtime ritual or helpful sleep book you’d like to recommend, please share with us in the comments.

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