Bedtime routine: Make it positive

As my daughter has got older, her worries have become more pronounced. I have written about her anxieties on the blog before, and we have tried to alleviate them with various methods within our bedtime routine, from posters to help them take flight, to worry stones that she can use to “take her worries away”

However, the most beneficial part of our bedtime routine has been to insure that the last things that we do before we go to sleep is talk about those parts from our day and time together that were positive and fun.

But what do we mean by this?

From an early age, we have always had a bedtime routine in place; even as a baby we used to make sure that we bathed and breastfeed and then put our two to bed. Now these routines at bedtime are a little more complex, but the principle is the same. Whether it’s 30 minutes television, a bath, and a story from mum or dad, a little bit of reading in bed and then that time when your parents tuck you in; it is all about winding down before going to sleep.

No matter what the run up to the time my kids get into bed though, when we have that moment when I am sitting by my daughter’s bed and tucking her in; the bedtime routine goes something like this….

  1. My favourite thing: Tell me what your favourite thing about today was mummy. I tell her.
  2. Her favourite thing: Well, my favourite thing from today was… She tells me what she liked most about her day.
  3. My two things to think of: Tell me what your things to think of are, mummy. I tell her what lovely things she can think of when she ges to sleep that I like to do with her or the rest of the family. They can be anything from ice skating, to getting a cuddle. Just so long as they make us feel warm inside
  4. Her two things to think of: My things to think of are…. Now it is her turn. She tells me what she wants to think of as she drifts off to sleep. Again, anything that she likes and makes her feel good is fine to mention here. Ski-ing features a lot at the moment ;-)
  5. The big cuddle and kiss: Bedtime isn’t complete without this now, is it?

It is the same every night, no matter where we are.

This part of the routine means that the last things that she thinks of before bed are fun, positive memories. She holds them in her heart when I leave, all night I hope.

It has cut down on the bad dreams, and the night wakings. It has made our evenings less interrupted by little people and their big worries.

Bedtime routines are powerful tools for children, and making those routines end on such a positive note has a profound effect on her sleep; and on ours too!

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Photo Credit: / David Castillo Dominici

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