Bedtime Prayer With Toddlers
A Great Toddler Bedtime Routine
If you don’t already have a sleepy-time routine in place for your toddler, now’s the time to create one. Here’s what to do.
The Pre-Bed Routine (30-60 Minutes)
As the evening is drawing, give your tot a few signals that bedtime is approaching:
- Dim the lights in the house.
- Do quiet play (not roughhousing).
- Turn off the TV.
- Put on white noise in the background.
- If you think your child has teething pain, ask your doctor if some medicine might help.
The “Get in Bed” Routine (20-30 Minutes)
Each family picks a slightly different bedtime routine. The key is to make your routine pleasant, loving, calming and consistent. Philadelphia researchers found that parents who started a 3-step bedtime routine (bath, massage and quiet cuddling or singing a lullaby) saw success within 2 weeks. Their children (7-36 months old) fell asleep faster…and slept longer!
And, as an extra bonus, the toddlers were less ly to call out to their parents or get their crib or bed.
Besides baths and massage, here are other routines many parents opt for.
When it’s time to start your routine, don’t invite resistance by asking, “Are you ready for bed?” Rather, start with an enthusiastic “Okay, all kids! Time for bed!” Make a hand sign for “bedtime” and begin a countdown before you start to sing a sleepy-time song. (Just make up a little ditty with words , “It’s sleepy-time!” or “Time to go to bed!”—perhaps to a familiar tune “Happy Birthday.”)As you sing, make a simple “let’s sleep” gesture—perhaps putting your hands together a pillow and resting your head on them.
Right before you start your bedtime, make your princess’s room perfect by:
- Dimming the lights.
- Keeping it cool (66°F-72°F is best).
- Warming the sheets (use a hot water bottle or little microwaveable wheat bag that’s removed when you tuck your munchkin in).
- Using a pleasant smell (a drop of lavender oil on the mattress or headboard is nice).
- Plugging in a small night-light.
- Putting up a dream catcher or a picture of Mommy and Daddy to “protect” your sweetie all night.
Loveys & Other Tips for Your Toddler’s Bedtime Routine
All kids enjoy saying “Good night!” to their toys. Prayers, lullabies and bedtime stories are wonderful sleep steps, too, and a pacifier or a last sip of water can also help bring a sandman.
(Offer water or caffeine-free mint or chamomile tea, but avoid cavity-promoting juices or sugary drinks at bedtime.
Also, limit pre-sleep breastfeeding or sucking on a bottle to about 30 minutes, because milk and formula also create cavity-producing bacteria.)
Loveys a blankie or a teddy bear are great allies in your bedtime routine. Think of them as stepping stones to maturity and independence. These faithful friends are called transitional objects because they give kids the courage to take steps away from their mama and daddy and transition away from the family into the great big world.
If your tot doesn’t have a favorite lovey, you can pick a soft, cuddly one to carry around with you all day. Within a few weeks, your tot may start to get interested—associating the toy with your sweet cuddling—and a friendship with the lovey may begin.
Make sure your lovey has no bits or buttons attached to it that might cause choking. And make sure you have a spare, just in case the first is lost or needs to be cleaned. Never remove a lovey as punishment. Far from making kids behave better, it can trigger resentment and insecurity.
And don’t forget that old familiar sleep cue, white noise.
But, as your toddler’s mind gets more active, you may find that softer sounds just don’t work and you need a rougher white noise, that on The Happiest Baby CD, which includes specially filtered womb or rain sound containing a mix of both shushy high-pitch and rumbly low-pitch frequencies.
White noise is an even better sleep cue than a teddy bear, because it’s easy to replace if you lose it, and it’s easier to wean later.
Other nice ideas for your bedtime routine might include:
- A warm bath (with the lights dimmed low).
- A coconut oil or cocoa butter massage (stroke the forehead from the eyebrows up to the scalp, slightly pulling your child’s eyes open with each stroke…this will make her want to close her eyes).
- Sprinkling a little “magic dust” around the room (sounds crazy, but it really works).
And last, but certainly not least is my favorite Happiest Toddler bedtime routine, bedtime sweet talk.
View more posts Toddler, sleep
9 Good Night Prayers for the Evening — Sleep Peacefully at Bedtime!
Ending your day with prayer is a wonderful way to let go of stress and find peace before falling asleep. No matter what you faced today, talking to God through goodnight prayers will renew your faith. Evening prayer also helps you reflect on all the throughout your day and the ways that God has been present with you.
Share these nine bedtime and evening prayers with your children, spouse and friends so they too can fall asleep feeling blessed and thankful!
Goodnight Prayer for Blessings
Bless us with rest tonight, Jesus, and a good night’s sleep. Forgive us for the things we did today that did not honor you. Thank you for loving us so much and that you know us through and through.
We need your help every day, and we thank you for the strength you give and for helping us know that with you, even hard things are possible. Bless our family and our home, and keep us safe through the night.
May your angels guard us and watch over us, just you promised.
You've told us we are just sheep. And that you lead us and guard us a shepherd. You know our names, and you make us feel special and loved. When we hurt, you help us feel better.Thank you, Jesus, for your good care and for giving us [mom/dad/parents/foster parents/pastors] to help. Thank you for the Bible, and for teaching us stuff in life that helps us grow. Bless the people in our world, and help them to know you love them, too.
Thank you for all the people who help us so much: teachers, doctors, policeman, and fireman—and so many more.
Thank you for your good plan for our lives. Help us to obey you and love you more and more. When we awake in the morning, put a smile on our face and your purpose in our hearts, ready to start a new day. We love you, Jesus. Good night. In Jesus's precious name, Amen. ~ ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A Bedtime Prayer to Stop an Anxious Heart
Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen. ~ Renee Swoop
Giving Thanks Evening Prayer
Dear God, we thank you tonight for the good day and for the special way you take care of us all the time. Thank you for the fun times outside and the quiet times inside, and for helping us learn new things every day.
Thank you for creating us special, exactly the way you wanted. Thank you for protecting us throughout the day. Forgive us for the wrong things we do.
Thank you for loving us even when we disobey or try to do things our way. Help us to always choose your way, God, because it’s always best.
We pray for all the people who don’t know you, and that they will come to understand your love for them, too.
Bless our family and thank you for good times together and apart. Bless our friends and those we love, including our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. Thank you for our home and a place to sleep and good food to eat.
Help us rest well, give us peaceful dreams, and send your angels around our home to protect us throughout the night. Teach us to trust you and to love you more and more. You are good; you are great; and you are faithful, God. And we love you. Good night.
In Jesus’s precious name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A Short Night-time Prayer (2 Timothy 1:7)
For God’s not given me a spirit of fear, But a spirit of love, and of power, and a sound mind,
To live each day and glorify his name.
Popular Child’s Bedtime Prayer, 18th Century
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Alternative Version for Children: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, Watch and guard me through the night, and wake me with the morning light.
A Beautiful Prayer to End the Day
Heavenly Father, my day is drawing to an end, and I'm ready to turn in. But before I do, I have to thank you for your faithfulness today. It's always a good day, even when things may not go the way I plan, or when the world seems in chaos, because you are in control.
For all the times when I was aware of your help today, all the times when your unseen presence seemed so near, thank you, God. But for all the ways you worked behind the scenes, unknown to me, moments when heaven-sent angels moved on my behalf in ways I'll never know, thank you for those also, Lord.
Forgive me for any foolish actions on my part today or things I did without first asking your blessing or wisdom. Those are moments I'd rather forget, but I'm so grateful for your forgiveness when I ask.I never want to go to bed without clearing the air between us, Lord. Our friendship means too much, and your holiness deserves that. Thank you for loving me just as I am.
Your love compels me to give you my all and fills my heart with praise for the relationship we share because of Jesus.
As I close my eyes tonight, I'm praying for loved ones around me, for friends and those who need to know you, Lord. I'm praying that your love, the billions of stars in the night sky outside, will touch them and help them see who you really are. I pray for our world and those in it. I pray for their needs as well as my own.
Grant me a good night's sleep tonight, God, so that I can awake refreshed and ready to begin another day loving you. Thank you again for blessings so undeserved and too numerous to count.
I love being your child, and I long for the word «faithful» to describe my service to you, each day of every year. When I awake in the morning, may it be with a joyful smile, not a grumpy spirit.
May your protection and your presence bathe this place with peace and safety against the enemy. Good night, Lord. In Jesus's name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Father, We Thank Thee
Father, we thank thee for the night, And for the pleasant morning light; For rest and food and loving care, And all that makes the day so fair. Help us to do the things we should, To be to others kind and good; In all we do, in work or play, To grow more loving every day.
— Rebecca Weston — 1890
Bedtime Prayer (song by Twila Paris)
Now I lay me down to sleep I pray dear Lord that you will keep Your eyes upon this sleeping world
Every little boy and girl
Bless the children far away The ones who don't know how to pray Those who are not feeling well
The little one the slipped and fell
Bless the puppy down the street The neighbors I have yet to meet
Bless my mom and dad especially
Just one more thing I'd to say Before I close another day I'd to thank you Lord for all the ways
That You bless meBless the child whose home is torn The babies who are not yet born Bless the ones who take your word
To all the hearts that have not heard
Bless all your children everywhere I hope they know how much you care Maybe someday I can go
And tell them that You love them so
Bless Grandma and my Grandpa too And all my friend and all they do
Bless every twig upon my family tree
Just one more thing I'll say to you I'm so amazed by all you do I'll thank you once again because it's true
That you bless me
The Examen (Evening Reflection)
Written by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Examen is a daily process for prayerfully reflecting on your day.
1. Remember God’s presence.
Even after a trying day, God will quiet your soul as you remember His presence and intentionally seek to enter into it. Remember He’s with you. Invite Him to make Himself present to you.
2. Respond to Him with thanks.
Giving thanks gives God glory and helps us look on the bright side of a bad day. What small blessings can you thank God for?
3. Reflect on how God showed Himself to you.
God reveals himself through scripture, but we also see glimpses of him in nature, events, and people.
Sometimes He shows up loudly through miraculous, divine intervention. Other times He shows Himself quietly through the beauty of a flower or an earnest conversation.
As you look back over your day, can you identify moments where you sensed God’s revelation or intervention?
4. Repent of your failings.
I don’t recognizing my own sin, but repentance is key to continual renewal in our relationship with God.As you reflect on your day, remember specific points where you failed. Bring your shortcomings before God and ask Him to forgive you.
5. Resolve to grow.
God is in the business of changing us, so don’t let your failings discourage or define you. His mercies are always new. Accept His forgiveness. Ask Him for grace to change. Is there anything you need to make right or anyone you need to apologize to? What can you do differently tomorrow?
Do you have a favorite goodnight prayer you use at bedtime? One that your parents taught you or that you are teaching your children? Share it with our community in the comments below!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Good Night Prayers
The Prayer of Jabez
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
A Birthday Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Now available is our new Daily Prayer devotional! An easy way to find start your day with prayer, read today’s prayer and sign up to receive by email.
7 Good Bedtime Prayers for Toddlers
Teaching your children some bedtime prayers is a great way to get them to enjoy this quiet time speaking with the Lord before nighttime. Here is a look at some of the most popular and simple bedtime prayers for toddlers that rhyme.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
“Our Father, Who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take. If I should live for other days,
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.
Father, unto thee I pray, Thou hast guarded me all day; Safe I am while in thy sight, Safely let me sleep tonight. Bless my friends, the whole world bless; Help me to learn helpfulness; Keep me every in thy sight;
So to all I say good night.”
“How we praise and thank You for the precious little lives of all new-born babies, little toddlers and young children, knowing that each one is special to You and was known in Your heart, even before conception.
Thank You that You have scheduled every day of each little life.. and we praise and thank You for the special plans and purposes You have for every single new-born child – for all babies and infants.
We pray Your loving protection over all babies and their families and pray that many may be brought up to know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. Give parents and grandparents and all those that are in any way connected with young babies the wisdom and grace to care for them in a loving and secure environment.
Guard and protect, guide and provide for each innocent little baby and protect their the hearts and minds from a society that has grown far from the God Who created them and sent His Son to die – so that they might life – this we ask in Jesus name,
“How we praise and thank You for our precious little baby and all the joy that he/she has brought us, and so Father, into Your hands we commit our precious little one and pray that You grace and love would surround him/her and that You would keep him in good health and strength and protect from him from the diseases and illnesses that can be so troubling for a young child
We pray not only for physical health and strength and a strong, healthy body but also for mental well-being and emotional stability.
But also Father we bring before You the spiritual well-being of our precious child. We pray that he would grow up learn to know and love the Lord Jesus personally and come to accept Him as Saviour.
Lord we pray that You would endow this little one with health in every area of his development and thank You for what You are going to do in his life – and we will give You all the praise and glory. This we ask in Jesus name,
You made me, To jump for joy, To sing happy songs, To run fast, To climb high,
To spin and twirl.
You made me To dance with excitement, To clap with thanks, To laugh lots, To shout loud,
To be a brilliant me!”
Here is a great lullaby of bedtime prayers. This is a great collection of prayers that will help encourage your child to give thanks to Him and receive blessings before bedtime.
About the Author of this Blog Post
Crystal Ayres has served as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.
Bedtime Rituals For Your Toddler
Going to bed on time after a tiresome day is a great comfort for most parents. However, this is rarely possible for most of them because bedtime is the fuss time for most of the kids. But you cannot sacrifice sleep, not yours and definitely not your baby’s.
Sleep is very important for your and your baby’s health. It is found that the behavioral issues such as hyperactivity are found more in children having irregular bed time than children having regular bed time.
A right routine and a few bed time rituals will help you to eliminate the bed time war and enjoy great bedtime experience.
Why Is It Necessary To Have A Bedtime Ritual?
Kids, and even adults want to have that “extra” 10 minutes of TV, cartoon, computer and what not. So when these 10 minutes get over, your bedtime has also gone for a toss. You’d think you’d sleep easily because you are tired, but that does not happen.
The reason is that everyone needs a series of events to happen, which are predictable, so as to help them sleep. When we talk of kids, it is essential to have a solid routine that makes him go into sleep mode effortlessly and smoothly.
Bed time rituals for your toddler are even more necessary as toddlers are known to fight sleep and stay hyperactive, and then feel irritated and clingy – but then they can’t sleep.
How Should I Plan A Bedtime Ritual For My Child?
You should plan bed time ritual your convenience and your child’s preferences. Rituals which worked out for your friend may not help you. Important things that you should remember are:
- Rituals you plan must have predictable steps repeating in the same order every night
- You should stick to your routine, even when you are on a vacation. This will help your toddler to settle down even in unfamiliar situations
- Some parents let their child stay up longer, thinking that once he is over tired he will sleep on his own. This is a big mistake because once he is overtired, a hormone called cortisol is released which will result in the child taking longer to fall asleep and waking up early in the morning. So observing your little one and figuring out the time he usually gets tired is important. This will help you to fix the bed time, which will not be too early or too late
- Winding down his brain activity is also as important as calming down his physical activity. So make sure that an hour (at least) before bedtime should be a “non-screen” time. All the gadgets such as computer, TV, I pad should be plugged off
What Are Some Of The Best Bedtime Rituals For Toddlers?
Your bed time rituals for your child depends completely upon his s and diss. While selecting the activities, make sure that it will help to make him calm, rather than excite him. Here is a list of 8 best bedtime rituals with which will help you to plan a routine.
- Brushing teeth: Brushing teeth should always be included in your toddler’s bed time rituals. Starting the habit of brushing teeth as early as possible is important for health reasons
- A warm bath: A warm, soothing bath will relax your baby. Make sure it is a simple bath (un the morning bath with lots of splashing and excitement) which makes him clean and dry and eases him to the bed time
- Get him changed for bed: Sometimes children will be fussy about wearing pajamas. He might not the one you take. It is always better to let them choose (limiting the options to 2 or 3), which will also give him an important role in his own bed time rituals
- Playing game: Playing simple and quiet games which will not make him madly excited and which will not demand high energy is a good idea. This way you are spending more fun time with him before going to bed. This part of the rituals will interest him more. So do it after the first 2 or 3 steps, so that he will finish those steps faster to reach his favorite part of the routine
- Reading bedtime stories: Story time is another funny bedtime ritual that your child would love to get into soon. Always ask your child to pick a book. He might always take the same book again and again and ask for the same story. Don’t bother to read him another story that he shows no interest in. Tell him the story he wants. Story time also helps to improve his vocabulary and language skills. Read more about reading bedtime stories here
- Getting into bed with a toy or blanket: It is seen that taking favorite toy or a blanket they with them in the bed helps the children to settle on the bed soon
- Praying: Some parents imbibe a beautiful ritual of praying before they go to bed. They pray and have some fun, and the child takes the cue that praying in night is means he needs to sleep. Some kids will yawn and squirm midway through the prayer!
- Switching off the light: You can make your baby to switch off your bed room light and turn on the night lamp. This will give him the idea that the day is over and it is time for his sleep
- Singing or playing lullabies: You can sing his favorite lullabies for making him sleep. He would love to hear his mamma’s or daddy’s voice while he drifts off to sleep. If you prefer playing lullabies, play it with low volume. You can give little hugs, kisses and small massages while playing lullabies which will help him sleep happily
From the above ideas pick and choose the ones that are best suited for you and the baby and customize a bedtime routine. Parents are quite busy during day time with both household chores and office work. A solid bedtime routine is hence a great way to spend some precious time with your child and strengthen your bond with him.
10 Popular Bedtime Prayers for Children
Saying bedtime prayers every night can help a child develop a habit of praying regularly and to self-reflect on his thoughts, behaviour, and actions of the day.
Teaching bedtime prayers to your child can be extremely beneficial for him.
Read this article to find out how bedtime prayers can benefit your child and we have 10 popular bedtime prayers for children that you can teach your dear child.
Bedtime prayers are very beneficial for children. Some of the benefits include:
Studies have shown that spending some time each night on self-reflection and prayer reduces stress levels in both adults and children. Praying increases feelings of calmness and wellness, thus reducing the ill-effects of stress. Prayers can also nullify the negative effects on physical health that are caused by stress.
2. Praying Helps with Self-control
Research has found that people who pray regularly have better discipline and self-control than people who do not pray. Studies have also shown that children who pray regularly are less prone to throwing tantrums and are more disciplined.
Praying makes people more kind and compassionate. This is a value you definitely want to inculcate in your child.Studies have shown that regular prayer can reduce aggressive behaviour and prevent angry outbursts in both adults and children.
Praying for the needs of other people makes children more empathetic and sensitive to the feelings of people around them. Overall, praying makes kids nicer.
4. Praying Helps Develop Trust
Praying with your child improves the bond of trust between you and your child and strengthens the unity between you two. Praying with family members can help your child get closer to them.
Adults and children who pray regularly have been found to be more willing to forgive others and are less inclined to hold grudges.
Simple Night Time Prayers for Kids
Here are some simple bedtime prayers for toddlers and young children:
This prayer is in the form of a rhyme and can be remembered by children easily. This prayer is very simple and can be understood by children without difficulty. This prayer is about Thanking God for all the good things he has provided and you should definitely teach it to your child. The prayer goes as follows:
“Thank you God for the world so sweet,Thank you God for the food we eat,Thank you, God for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything!”
This is a very popular prayer that has several variations. Here are 2 versions of this prayer:
“Now I lay me down to sleep.I pray the Lord my soul to keep.If I should live for other days,I pray the Lord to guide my ways.Lord, unto thee I pray, thou hast guarded me all day;safe I am while in thy sight.Safely let me sleep tonight.Bless my friends; the whole world blesses;Help me to learn helpfulness.Keep me ever in thy sight,
so to all, I say good night.”
“Now I lay me down to sleep;I pray the Lord my soul to keep.May God guard me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.”
3. Hi, It’s Me!
This beautiful rhyme is a child’s bedtime prayer and can be easily understood even by toddlers.
“Hi, it’s me, just come to prayAnd thank you for a fun-filled day!You’ve been with me, so I know you’ve seenAll the great exciting things.But also when I’m sad or crossI know you love me, no matter what!So help me rest and go to sleep
And feel the peace of your love for me.”
4. Dear God
This is a prayer for young children of school-going age and is suitable for a child who has had a bad day or is feeling sad or troubled.
“Dear God,I’ve felt a bit sad today.Sometimes people say things that upset me.Sometimes I feel lonely at school.Sometimes I feel misunderstood by my mum and dad.Sometimes my feelings are all mixed up inside.Please make me feel better.Please make me sleep with good dreams.
Please make a happier day tomorrow.”
5. Father, We Thank Thee
Children should say this bedtime prayer to show gratitude to God for showering his blessings on them. This prayer is ideal for making your child understand that it is important to be thankful for the good things in life and to be kind and loving.
“Father, We thank thee for the night,And for the pleasant morning light;For rest and food and loving care,And all that makes the day so fair.Help us to do the things we should,To be to others kind and good;In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.”
6. Angels Bless
This prayer asks angels to watch over your child.
“Angels bless, and angels keepAngels guard me while I sleepBless my heart and bless my homeBless my spirit as I roamGuide and guard me through the night
and wake me with the morning’s light.”
7. Lord in Heaven
This prayer asks for God’s care and guidance. It also asks God to bless all the people who love you.
“Lord in heaven, hear my prayer,Keep me in your loving care.Be my guide in all I do.
Bless all those who love me, too.”
8. When I See the Moon
This is an ancient prayer that praises God for his kindness.
“When I see the moon in the night sky,I speak my evening prayer;Praise be to the being of life,
For his kindness and his goodness.”
9. Lord Be Beside Us
This prayer asks God to guide and protect the whole family.
“Lord be beside us, all every dayGuiding and leading us gently always.Lord be above us, help us to seeThe hope of the future, of all we could be.Lord be beneath us, carry us whenWe’re too shattered or tired to really have strength.
Lord be ahead of us, smoothing our pathsProtecting and blessing the places we pass.Lord be behind us, healing our wounds,Forgiving our mistakes and making us new.Lord, be within us, this family is yours
Now and forever, you are our Lord.
10. God, Grant Me the Serenity
This prayer is for slightly older children and asks God for serenity, wisdom, and courage.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Making your child say a bedtime prayer every night will give you a chance to bond with him. You can also talk to your child about the things that might be troubling him and give a solution to his problem.
After the prayer session, teach him values kindness and truthfulness. A bedtime prayer habit will also help your child calm down and sleep restfully.
So, teach these bedtime prayers to your little child and raise a happy child.
Also Read: Interesting Bedtime Stories for Children
7 Parenting Hacks for an Easier Bedtime with Kids
Interested in supporting your family's health and wellness in 2019? Essential oils are a great place to start. PLUS, you'll snag a $20 Amazon gift card too. Learn more here about our FLASH SALE here. Ends soon!
Sitting in the driver’s seat of the car, my forehead pressed against my hands which clenched the wheel beneath them.
My sweet baby girl wailed in the back seat of the car. With each subsequent breath, her cries pierced deeper and deeper into my ear drum. Adding to the fun, my toddler son sat behind me kicking the seat shouting, “Mama, mama. Baby, crying!”
I was sleep deprived from toddler tantrums at bedtime, my child afraid to sleep alone, and being up several times per night with a baby. I was exhausted and it was only 9:30 am. Even more pitiful, I hadn’t even left the house yet.
So far I only managed to get myself and the kids in the car. As I sat there clenching the steering wheel, two thoughts pounced around my brain ping pong balls:
- I was promised there would be more sleep!
- Why isn’t there more sleep?!
Toddler bedtime struggles are real.
A recent online survey conducted by Healthdirect Australia revealed that the biggest struggle new parents face is parental sleep deprivation and helping kids sleep.
(post contains affiliate links)
Maybe it’s bedtime negotiation.
Maybe it’s a late bedtime.
Maybe it’s night waking.
Maybe your child is afraid to sleep alone.
Maybe it’s early morning waking.
No matter your sleep struggle, you are not alone. Readers from all over the world regularly write and share their struggles with me about sleep. It’s challenging to decide what sleep choices are right for your family!
Today I would to talk toddler tantrums at bedtime, late bedtimes, and practical solutions to help achieve an happy bedtime for your child.
What time should kids go to bed?
When deciding an appropriate bedtime for your child there are several things to consider:
- What is a time that will work well for your family? For example, if you eat dinner as a family at 6 pm, then 6:30 or 7 pm might not work that well for you. Perhaps, 7:30 pm or 8:00 is more realistic.
- What time does your child need to wake up in the morning? If your child needs to wake up at 5 am for daycare because you are a working parent, then an earlier bedtime might help your child get the sleep his developing body needs.
- How much sleep does your child need their age and individual needs? Stick with me, I’ll help answer this question next.
How much sleep do kids really need?
In our home, focusing on average sleep needs by age helps immensely when making decisions about sleep. For example, if we know that an average 2 year old needs 12-14 hours of sleep per day, it helps us gauge what is a reasonable bedtime for him.
If your child needs 10 hours of sleep per night and wakes up at 6 am, then a 8 pm bedtime might work for you.
If your child needs 12 hours of sleep per night and wakes up at 7 am, then a 7 pm is ly ideal.
Tips to help kids get to bed on time
1. Essential oils
Essential oils are a great way to create a calm and relaxing mood before bedtime, helping kids wind down. Perfect for toddler tantrums around bedtime. We love to diffuse lavender or peace and calming about an hour before bedtime to set the tone. Some days we place 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil on sea salt and drop into the bathwater to help our toddler relax.
2. Bedtime routine.
Studies show that a consistent bedtime routine helps cue children for sleep, as it initiates the bodies release of melatonin (nature’s sleep regulation hormone). Keep the routine simple enough to complete each night before bed.
If you are struggling to get your child to cooperate with a routine, we love using these printable bedtime routine cards. This is a super easy way to help kids feel independent and in-control during the bedtime routine.
— Print the bedtime routine cards.
—Laminate them using these easy laminating sheets.
–Arrange in the order of your choosing.
–Hang in the hallway or in your child’s room.
–Help them follow along with the routine each night.
Anytime you are making changes with sleep, there is often resistance. Resistance does not necessarily mean your parenting choice is incorrect. Change is hard. For kids. For parents. For everyone. Do your research, make a plan, then stay consistent for at least one – two weeks. Then make adjustments and follow your instincts.
4. Choose a bedtime.
the printable chart above, decide what is an appropriate bedtime for your child. For our family, 7:30 pm works best for us. It gives our family enough time to have dinner together, have quality family time together, and do our bedtime routines with the kids. This doesn’t mean 7:30 pm is right for everyone.
Here are 3 things I consider when choosing a bedtime:
–What time will my kids wake up in the morning?
–How much overnight sleep do my kids need?
–What is a realistic bedtime given our family’s work and mealtime schedules?
5. Deep breathing.
There are all sorts of different ways to help kids settle down before bedtime. Deep breathing is one technique I keep in my back pocket when I need it.
Here’s how to use this technique:
–Hug your child while in a sitting position.
–Start deep breathing.
–No instructions are needed for your child.
–Simply continue deep breathing.
If you are interested in reading a bit more science behind why this technique works, I talk about it here: One Simple Trick to Help Kids Fall Asleep Fast
6. Get bed one time rule.
This is fabulous technique explored in the book Parenting With Love And Logic.
The concept is simple:
–Children must go to their rooms at “bedtime.”
–They may stay awake until they are ready for bed.
–Quiet books (or perhaps quiet toys) ONLY in bed.
–Children may come their room only ONCE to say goodnight and get a drink, go potty, ask a question, etc.
–Once they come their room, they are choosing “lights out.”
7. The hour leading up to bedtime.The hour before bedtime sets the tone. Dim the lights in your home, turn the TV and all screen time off. This is a perfect time to connect with kids, reading books and doing other quiet time activities.
Kids who use screen time before bed are more ly to struggle with bedtime and falling asleep at a reasonable hour.
Bonus Tip: Only use a red night light
Using a white or blue nightlight is a surefire way to keep kids awake. Choosing a red, yellow, or orange light is better is because they don’t emit daytime light frequencies. Blue, green and white lights send your body “daytime” light messages, making you more ly to stay awake.
This Gummygoods Red Nightlight is adorable. Or simply replace your nightlight bulbs with these red night light bulbs.
Getting kids to stay in bed
Once you get your child to an earlier bedtime. You might be wondering how in the world to keep them in bed. It’s challenging.
There isn’t a perfect solution, but in our home we continue walking our child back to bed over and over again while using calm and reassuring phrases.
If you’ve thought it through, made a plan, know your child’s sleep needs, and know an age-appropriate bedtime, feel confident continuing to take your child back to bed.
Here are examples of simple short simple phrases we use:
We do the same routine each night.
You will see mommy and daddy in the morning.
We love you.
For the first several nights this could take an infinite number of times and it is exhausting. Sometimes there are tears. We stay calm, speak slowly and use a low voice, reminding him that we love him, but it’s bedtime.
He protests. We stay calm. We remind him. After a consistent day or two, he is back to a smooth bedtime routine and sleeping at a reasonable hour.
I released the steering wheel
As I sat there hanging on for dear life to the steering wheel of my car, a calm washed over me.
The baby continued screaming, my toddler continued kicking, but I changed my tone.
I decided getting the kids from our apartment on the eighth floor down to the car was enough work for now, and I took the kids back upstairs.
I let my toddler watch an episode of Sesame Street. I put my baby down for a nap. And I ate a donut and drank a cup of coffee.
Parenting is exhausting.
Sleep deprivation is heinous.Sometimes you have to forgive yourself, take a breather, and make a plan to get sleep back on track.
And so I did.
You can find the 40+ printable routine cards we use in our home here.
Want more on parenting?
I've created a free email series just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, rhythm or schedule, this email series will help you find one that will work for YOUR family. Yes, really. I've seen my sample routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- free sample routine for your child
- learn one easy routine that will help you get more done (and keep your child happy)
- get simple hacks for managing the day with mulitple kids
- get a sneak peak at a book containing 25+ sample routines and schedules
Sign up here or click the image below!
Are you new to this community? Start here, friend.