Bedtime rules – 5 simple rules to take the hassle out of bedtime


Bedtime has to be the least favourite part of any parent’s day

Bedtime can cause stress and exhaustion for even the most skilled parent. In films we see calm and peaceful children skipping to bed while their parents simply, without fuss, tuck them in and read them a story while they drift off to sleep.

Now this may happen once or twice in a lifetime, but the usual routine has a lot more tears, tantrums and negotiations. It can be incredibly hard to get a perfect bedtime routine but fear not! It’s never too late to implement a better one.

To help you out we spoke to all of the parents in our office to bring you their top five simple tips to turn bed time into a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone involved! The key to success is to start small – make incremental changes until you reach success. Then you need to keep it up. Consistency is key with children and before you know it, there will be smiles on everyone’s faces, including yours!

1. Get their PJ’s on ASAP!

The sooner the PJ’s get on, the quicker and easier bed time will be. If you get them on straight after dinner, with plenty of time before bed, kids will rush through the process in order to play for as long as possible. When bedtime comes, you simply have to put them into bed, no struggle necessary!

2. A book before bedtime!

A great way to keep the mood calm is to bring out a book and read to them while in bed. For any unruly little ones who don’t want to hear a story, try enforcing the ‘no story and straight to bed’ rule.

The kids that want to be calm and listen get a story and a bit more time awake, while those that don’t have to go to bed early. No negotiations. If you stick with this rule, in no time at all your kids will be calm and settled before bed!


3. Try a sensory bottle for your stubborn ones!

All kids at one time or another will try the line ‘I’m not tired yet’. This will inevitably lead to endless negotiations as you try to convince them they are tired or at least to get settled in bed. Try using a sensory bottle to help your kid to decompress and calm-down for bedtime.

At this point in the evening, toys are not the most constructive thing, so use a sensory bottle to keep them occupied until they drift off to sleep. It will calm them and make them relaxed and you will have a sleepy child before you know it. Check out this simple tutorial of how to make your own.

4. Challenge your kids to beat the clock!

A tool that all parents must have is a timer. This simple but effective tool will help get your kids to bed before you know it. Set a timer before bed and tell your child they need to be ready before it goes off or they will miss out on a treat (e.g. a bed time story).

Some of you may worry that this may come across as too threatening but don’t worry you’ll be surprised by how much kids enjoy the challenge. Not only do they love trying to beat the time but it also acts subconsciously to tell them to go to bed which works much better than you nagging.

5. Wake them back up when you go to bed!

Now go with us on this, after hearing about Becky from Your Modern Family’s experience with an unruly kiddo who kept getting up in the middle of the night, we were shocked to hear how a doctor had recommended this.

He suggested to her that she should gently wake up the child just before the parents went to bed every night and then tuck them back in. You can read all about how well this worked for her and how it can work for you, here.

Remember that with these tips and any type of routine, the key is to keep it up no matter what happens. The same order, every single night. Young children need 10-12 hours of sleep a night and the later they stay up the more trouble they will be in. Keep a quick and easy routine that ensures your young kids are in bed by 7:30pm and we’re sure you will see a big improvement in how they behave before bed.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our advice and we hope it brings you success tonight. Share you experiences with our parenting community on our Facebook page.