Our Tips on Making Bedtime for Children Less Stressful

3 mins
Jun 04, 2024

When they’re growing up and full of energy, sleeping can often be the last thing your child wants to do at night. Persuading them to get into bed is one thing, but successfully helping them get off to sleep, and then stay asleep, can be a different challenge.

Luckily, we’ve provided some information on sleep along with tried and tested tips that can help your child settle into a nighttime routine, hopefully resulting in more peaceful nights.

The Importance of Sleep for Children

Any parent knows that plenty of sleep is essential for their child, but the specifics of how much and why can often vary.

Why is Sleep Important for Children?

Getting a good amount of sleep helps your child in their mental, physical, social, and emotional development. It is an essential part of growing up and learning, in much the same way as school or play.

How Many Hours Sleep do Children Need?

Unfortunately, there is no magic number to ensure your child rests well every night, and the needs of each child can vary. However, Great Ormond Street Hospital has provided a guide on how much sleep children in specific age categories should get per day, including naps:

  • 4 – 12 Months: 12 – 16 hours
  • 1 – 2 Years: 11 – 14 hours
  • 3 – 5 Years: 10 – 13 hours
  • 6 – 12 Years: 9 – 12 hours

How Bedtime Affects Children Learning

The amount of sleep your child gets can directly affect their learning, as sleep can help stimulate the analysis, understanding, and memorisation of new information.

Being well rested also helps improve their concentration, mood, and behaviour, which will help them learn from their experiences throughout the day, at home or at school.

Five Tips for Better Sleeping Patterns in Your Children

Every child has different needs when it comes to sleeping, and the tactics that work for one child may not be as effective for another. Try some of the following and see what works for you!

1. Time Without Screens – Also a common recommendation for adults, putting phones, tablets, and TV’s off and away a little while before bed can help reduce brain stimulation before it’s time to sleep.

2. Give Them a Bath – Running a bath to help them get ready for bed signals to your child that it’s time to wind down, and the warmth will often have a soothing effect on their emotions.

3. Start Building a Routine – Whether it’s brushing their teeth, getting changed into pyjamas, or running the bath, getting a child into the routine of falling asleep in the same place every day will support their sense of security.

4. Read Age-Appropriate Books – Reading before bed is an excellent tool to stimulate sleep and can also start winding down your child’s emotions and excitement. Relaxing bedtimes stories for children can be found anywhere, so try to find some that relate to your child’s interests.

5. Create a Meditative Atmosphere – There are lots of ways to employ children’s meditation for sleep, such as dimming the lights, playing quiet and relaxing music or white noise, and gently talking to them about soothing subjects. Also consider the colours of a child’s bedroom to ensure that they aren’t over stimulating.

6. Use neutral colours in bedrooms that aren’t over-stimulating; creams and pastel shades are helpful If possible use the same sleeping environment for the child. Getting into the routine of falling asleep in the same place each day will help them to feel more secure Always follow safe sleep practices. Details of the latest information and research is available from the Lullaby Trust

Example Bedtime Routines for 3-Year-Olds

Setting up a strict routine helps your child prepare for bed naturally every single night. By turning off their screens or running a bath at the same time, your child will know what to expect and start unconsciously calming down and preparing for sleep.

Let’s use a three-year old as an example. The recommended bedtime for a 3-year-old is about 19:30, so you may want to start running a bath at about 16:30. This will let them know bedtime is approaching and give them time to start winding down.

When the bath is ready, turn off their screens for the night, dim the lights, and consider playing some gentle music to help them relax. Once out of the bath, get them dressed into their pyjamas and make sure they brush their teeth.

Now they’re ready to be tucked into bed, consider reading them a children’s story appropriate and relevant to them, before letting them rest independently.

Get in Touch for More Information

We’re no strangers to effective childcare and parenting tips. We are a leading nursery chain operating in the Southwest of England and South of Wales, helping young children prepare for school with purpose-built facilities and a specialist curriculum of learning.

We like to support the development of the children in our care both when they’re at nursery, and when they’re at home.

Get in touch if you have any questions by calling 0800 783 3431 or emailing enquiries@happydaysnurseries.com, or use our Find a Nursery tool to see which of our nurseries or preschools is closest to you!