Bedtime Rituals That Changed My Life As A Parent

Many parents consider getting their children to bed on time, one of their biggest challenges. Do you also have regular night-time battles with your child? Find out how you can make your life easier.

By Jasmine Kaur

Bedtime Rituals That Changed My Life As A Parent

It’s not always easy to get children to go to bed on time. It is one of the things that many parents consider their toughest challenge. From requesting additional TV time to asking for more bedtime stories, to finding monsters under the bed, children come up with various excuses. To delay that moment when they have to go to bed. And, for tired parents who are at the end of their tether after a long, exhausting day, this can be extremely frustrating.

However, some parents have cracked the code to getting their child into bed on time and without too much fuss. Read on to learn their secret.

1. Warm baths: 

For many of us, a warm bath before going to bed is a panacea to all sleep problems. And, some research studies do support this belief. In their study, 'Bathing before sleep in the young and in the elderly', published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (1999), Kanda et al say, "After bathing, the young people reported "warmth" in their hands and/or legs, while the elderly more often reported 'good sleep' or 'quickness of falling asleep'. During the first 3 h of sleep, body movements were less frequent after bathing for both the young and the elderly subjects."

A warm bath helps regulate our body temperature and thus induces good sleep.

I have two-year-old twins. The only trouble I had while settling them into a routine was when it came to bedtime. I tried many things — from switching off all the lights, keeping them on, to staying absolutely silent. Nothing worked. My children just wouldn’t fall asleep, even though they were sleepy. They would just fight and get cranky. I didn’t know what to do.
So, I started giving them a nice warm bath about an hour and a half after their dinner. I would also sing them lullabies. Once I got them into bed, they would request stories. And, by the time I finished telling them the first one and started on the next, they would be fast asleep. — Gayathri Ethiraj

2. Storytelling: 

Engaging in an activity that is relaxing also helps us sleep better. Listening to stories during bedtime helps children visualise. This makes them feel relaxed and calm.

I tell my three-year-old stories before she goes to bed. She loves to listen to stories about Krishna, Chhota Bheem and Hanuman as well as tales about animals and birds. These stories, according to me, make her imagination more colourful. Moreover, since the stories also have positive words, my child feels good. After listening to stories, she starts feeling sleepy and dozes off easily. — Pavithra K.

3. Reading a book: 

The benefits of reading for children are many. To name a few, the habit of reading helps boost vocabulary and language skills, improves the understanding of various topics and enhances the ability to concentrate and focus.

I try to make sure that my son gets at least eight hour's sleep every night. This helps him feel fresh in the morning and go to school in a happy mood. For this, we usually do a few things before we wind up our day. These include reading a book together, playing soft music and ensuring that the bedroom is as dark as possible. Of course, we also do things like brushing our teeth, which we have made into a night-time ritual. — Gopinath Parthasarathy

4. Listening to music: 

Almost every child loves listening to music. In fact, sometimes children fall asleep while listening to lullabies! At the same time, music also helps a child feel calm and relaxed. 

I have a three-year-old daughter. We engage in a reading and storytelling routine every night. However, what soothes us before sleep is the music we play after all the talking and storytelling. My daughter and I have a few songs and tunes that we enjoy listening together. She naturally drifts off to sleep once she listens to one or two of these. Sometimes, she falls asleep even as we hum along together. — Sindhu Sivalingam

5. Fairy tales and conversations: 

Although listening to stories is an immensely entertaining activity for children, it also provides an opportunity to them to get physically close to their parents. This bonding makes them feel secure and loved.  

Since we have a very hectic schedule, bedtime is the only opportunity I get to bond with my children. My son Aaravan is seven years old and is in class 2. My daughter Sri Tanvi is four years old and in LKG. Both my children have the same bedtime and morning routine. Our bedtime ritual starts around 7.30 p.m. with my children taking a bath and getting into their night clothes. Then, we take turns reading. First Aarav reads an adventure story, and then Tanvi asks me to read Cinderella or a fairy tale.
My children then talk about their friends and cousins for a while. They ask me lots of questions as well. After these conversations, they thank God and fall asleep.
No matter how tired we are, we always follow this bedtime routine, which has brought harmony to our family. After we started following this routine, I find that my children listen to me more. It is also easier to convince them of certain things. — Rohini Balachandar

Now that you know about bedtime routines and rituals that other parents have perfected, pick one that you think will work best for you. You can also mix and match tips, tricks and techniques to come up something that suits your child. Or, better still, come up with a special sleep-time tradition that is completely your family's own. And feel free to share that with us!

About the author:

Written by Jasmine Kaur on 9 January 2019.

Join our Circles to share, discuss and learn from fellow parents and experts!

Looking for expert tips and interesting articles on parenting? Subscribe now to our magazine. Connect with us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube