Bedtime Routines

For parents or other caregivers, sleep issues can be a source of frustration, fatigue and stress.


Pediatricians recommend creating a bedtime routine—engaging your child in the same activities in the same order every night before turning out the light. Routines create less stressful environments for children.

A Nightly Routine

In a study examining the impact of bedtime routines on infant and toddler sleep patterns, researchers recruited 405 infants (7–18 months old) and toddlers (18–36 months old), all of whom were identified by their mothers as having a sleep problem.

They introduced a nightly routine to some of the children in the second and third weeks of the study: a bath, a massage for infants or lotion for toddlers, and then soothing activities such as cuddling or a lullaby before turning out the light.

At the end of 3 weeks, the children who were given a bedtime routine fell asleep faster, woke up less often and for shorter periods, and were in better moods the next morning.

Children’s Sleep Problems Affect Parents, Too!

The study also found that a decrease in their children’s sleep problems improved the moods of mothers, as well. The mothers of toddlers felt less tension, anger, fatigue and confusion, and reported having more energy.

Fostering Good Sleep Habits

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these steps to help your child fall asleep and stay asleep:

  • Create a bedtime routine and keep it consistent.
  • Allow your child to take a comfort object, such as a stuffed animal to bed.
  • Make sure the room is comfortable for your child.
  • Don’t let your toddler sleep in bed with you.
  • Don’t go to their room every time your toddler calls you.

See also ...

Handling your toddler’s night waking     

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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