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  • Courtney Wilson, OTS

Bedtime Routines


Sleep is such an important part of your child’s day. Optimal sleep helps your child play and be ready to participate in daily activities at school and at home. Parents often struggle with make sure their child goes to bed at a reasonable hour every night. A bedtime routine helps both the parent and the child make the daily activity of going to sleep an enjoyable experience. Occupational therapy can help facilitate this routine and provide strategies that will promote a successful bedtime routine. Here are some occupational therapy tips for a bedtime routine:

1. Establish a specific bedtime

  • Choose a bedtime that is appropriate for your child’s age and be consistent with it, even on weekends or on vacation

  • Establish a routine of events leading up to bedtime so that your child is prepared for sleep. This routine should begin about 30 minutes before bed. (example: bath, brush teeth, read a book, turn night light on, go to bed)

  • Ask your child to identify the steps before bed so you know that they understand the routine

2. Help your child relax

  • Avoid exercise or TV before bed because the movement and light can make your child more alert

  • Play soothing music or have them clean up their toys to declutter the room before bed

3. Help your child feel comfortable

  • If your child is scared of the dark, introduce a night light so they do not have anxiety before bed

  • Dim the lights before bed to help them prepare for the dark and reiterate that it is time to sleep

  • Think about the fabric on their beds. Is it itchy? Too hot? Too cool? Are the windows letting in light?

Reference: (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/ChildrenAndYouth/Bedtime-Routines.aspx

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