Bedtime routines can be difficult to get started, but it’s important to make them a healthy habit for your family. We spoke with some of our experts from Sanford Children's CHILD Services to find out why bedtime routines are important, and what you can be doing to create a great bedtime routine for your kids.

So how much sleep should your kids be getting? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children between the ages of 3 and 5 years should be getting between 10-13 hours of sleep, including naps. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 years should be getting 9-12 hours of sleep.

Your child should have a bedtime routine much sooner than age 6. Why? Well, bedtime routines create good sleeping habits, and good sleeping habits have positive physical, mental, and emotional results. Children who get enough sleep have healthier immune systems, increased focus, and are more able to regulate their emotions better than those who don’t get enough sleep. 

Bedtime routines also help your kids learn the importance of consistency. According to Susan Illg, Family Life Specialist from Sanford Children’s CHILD Services, “Children really do want and need routines, but they may push the limits that are set by their parents.”

Consistency in bedtime routines are a vital part of your kids’ growth and development. Doing the same things, in the same order, at about the same time each night helps develop a sense of security and control for your child. While your child may struggle with that consistency right away, encouraging it and making it habit will make nights easier for everyone and teach him or her the value of routines.

A bedtime routine is also a great chance to spend time with your kids in a much calmer setting than you normally might. According to Naomi Hoffman, a Family Life Educator from Sanford Children’s CHILD Services, “Get creative with your child’s routine, but remember that doing the same thing every night is comforting for a child.” Taking the time to read a book (even if it’s the same one for a 10th time) or having a warm bath deepens the sense of trust and love that a child has with their parents. Check out our Bedtime Routine Printable to get started with a routine of your own!


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