I’m a nationally published sleep expert, journalist, and the mom of three young kids. I’ve been helping tired families sleep since 2007 (more about me here). Subscribe to The Well Rested Family for fresh news and tips on keeping your bunch happy and healthy. Thanks for stopping by!


Find Me Here!

Tag cloud
10 month old sleep 11 month old 2 year old can't fall asleep 2 year old nap 3 year old stops napping 4 month old 45 minute naps 8 month old adults adults sleep alarm clock babies baby baby bedtime baby doesn't nap baby fall back baby nursing to sleep baby rolling at night baby short naps baby sleep baby sleep positioners baby sleep routine bad bedtimes bedroom too loud bedsharing bedtime bedtime baby bedtime books bedtime child bedtime for teens bedtime problem bedtime routine bedtime snacks bedtimes bedwetting best bedtime stories for kids big boy bed blackout curtains boost breastfed baby sleep through the night bsby cosleeping bumpers caffeine child child bedtime child can't sleep child sleeping in a tent childcare childhood fears and sleep children cosleeping cover story creativity crib cry it out cultural intelligence daycare daylight savings time Daylight Savings Time kid bedtime daylight savings time sleep DHA does exercise help kids sleep dropping a nap DST early waker early waking ebook education energy equality equally shared parenting exercise and kids exercise and sleep fall back falling back families family five month old naps five month old short naps five month old sleep five year old bedtime food getting baby to bed getting dad to help with bedtime Getting kids to bed getting kids to bed during the summer getting kids to bed when it's light out getting rid of the pacifier giveaway green Harvey Karp Hawaii health heart health tips help helping kids adjust to daylight savings time helping kids get to sleep after vacation Helping kids sleep in the summer helping kids sleep through the night helping twins sleep holiday how long should babies nap how long should bedtime take how much sleep do adults need how to get rid of nightmares how to help a preschooler nap how to stop nightmares humor immune system infant sleep insomnia kids kids always get sick kids and daylight savings time kids sharing bedrooms kids sleep questions Kindle king 5 large family late bedtime learning leg cramps light math Moms moving child to his own bedroom nap nap routine napping in arms naps new sibling newborn news night terror night waking nightlights nightmare nightmares nighttime dryness nurse to sleep association nutrition one year old overtied kids overtired overtired child overtiredness pacifier pajamas nightmares parenting parentmap pediatric restless legs syndrome potty training pregnancy and newborn preschool Preschooler problem problem solving product productivity pull ups putting kids to bed questions raising a boy robotic safety safey separation anxiety setting a bedtime for kids shared bedroom shared bedrooms Shopping short naps short sleeper six month old sleep skipped naps sleep sleep and learning sleep coach sleep coaching sleep consulting sleep expert sleep for moms sleep gadgets sleep help sleep hygiene sleep pregnancy sleep questions sleep regression sleep through the night sleeping during the summer sleeping well during pregnancy sleeping while camping soundproof spring forward standing and screaming in crib stress sugar summer summer bedtime swaddle teen teen bedtime Teenage brains television time change time zone adjustment toddler toddler 4 am toddler bed toddler leg cramps toddler naps toddler sleep toddlers toilet transition transition to one nap travel with kids tryptophan twins undertired up all night violence and kids violent video games and children waking warm bedroom hurts sleep weaning the swaddle winter women heart health won't fall asleep work worries

Entries in bedtime routine (1)


Building A Better Bedtime

A friend of mine shared this brilliant comic strip by Richard Thompson of gocomics.com. It perfectly illustrates the Great Bedtime Challenge for modern parents—how do you create an effective bedtime routine that summons sleep without becoming your child’s own personal bedside entertainer?

When it comes to a bedtime routine for a child, it’s easy to go a bit bonkers—after all, we constantly hear about the vital importance of a bedtime routine. So we add and add and add to our routine, until it gets so unwieldy that we dread it every night.

We create our children’s bedtime routines with the best of intentions, but here’s the fact: The ideal bedtime routine supports a healthy bedtime—it does not delay it. An overly-long bedtime routine doesn’t do your child or your family any favors, because if it’s boring or cumbersome for you to perform the routine, you probably won’t keep doing it consistently, night after night. And the very best bedtime routine is one that’s consistent and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Here’s how to create an appropriate, effective bedtime routine that paves the way to healthy sleep without eating away your evening.

  • Design your bedtime routine so that it lasts anywhere from fifteen to forty-five minutes. If your child’s bedtime routine has ballooned out of control, gradually reduce the number of steps until the entire routine takes no longer than forty-five minutes, including bath and snack.
  • An effective bedtime routine moves in one direction—toward the bed. Circling in and out of the bedroom during the bedtime routine (“I need to get more water, mommy!”) disrupts wind-down and does not encourage your child to associate her bedroom with relaxation and rest.
  • You can choose an appropriate bedtime and design a great routine, but your child might still refuse to cooperate. If your child resists his bedtime routine, remember that you can enforce bedtime without forcing him to participate in the routine. If your child chooses not to participate, simply carry out the routine. Read stories to an empty room. Don’t chase him through the house or engage in a power struggle. Don’t force him into his pajamas—inform him that it’s fine with you if he sleeps in his clothes. When he sees that his stall tactics are not effective, the power plays will cease.

 You can create a soothing, sleep-supporting routine by picking 3-5 elements from the list below.

  • Bedtime snack or breastfeeding
  • A soothing bath
  • Nightime dressing (pajamas, swaddling)
  • Snuggling with mom, dad, and/or a favorite toy
  • Listening to soothing music (some babies will play happily in their room or crib listening to a mobile or music recording while you prepare a bath)
  • Bedtime stories
  • Lullaby (the same song, every night)
  • Rocking in a rocking chair or glider
  • Turning on a white noise machine

Can you relate to the comic strip? How long does bedtime take in your house?