Kids Bedtime Routine: Transform Your Evenings in Just Weeks!

Ever feel like your kid’s bedtime routine is more of a nightmare than a dream? What if we told you the secret to peaceful nights could be found in some simple, easy to execute sleep strategies?

Kids Bedtime routine: a word that can evoke a sense of dread in many a parent's heart. For those with children aged 3-10, the challenge of establishing a consistent and peaceful bedtime routine can feel like a nightly ordeal. But what if the path to tranquil evenings was simpler than we've been led to believe? With practical strategies and a touch of patience, families can transform bedtime from chaos to calm.

The Importance of Sleep

A good night sleep isn't just a parental luxury; it's a critical component of a child's health and development. Pediatric sleep expert Dr. Craig Canapari emphasizes that "children’s behavior, learning, memory, and emotional regulation are all linked to sufficient sleep. "Unfortunately, in our fast-paced, screen-saturated world, ensuring that our kids develop good sleep habits can feel like an uphill battle. But it's a battle worth waging for their mental and emotional health, and the overall peace of the family unit.

“In the last 20 years, scientists have found that sleep impacts more than just students’ ability to perform well; it improves their ability to learn, memorize, retain, recall, and use their new knowledge to solve problems creatively. All of which contribute to better test scores.” – Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Strategy 1: Consistent Bedtime Routine

Consistency is the bedrock of a successful kids bedtime routine. But it's not just about having a fixed schedule; it's about creating calming, sleep-inducing activities that signal to your child's brain that it's time to wind down. This could include a warm bath – a cue for relaxation – followed by brushing teeth and a cozy bedtime story or gentle cuddles. It's about creating a comforting sequence that, over time, becomes a sleep trigger for your child. This is part of creating a healthy ‘habit loop’, the gold standard in changing behaviors. We’ve written a blog post all about it, you can check it out here!

Boy in wheelchair brushing his teeth as part of his bedtime routine

Strategy 2: Creating the Right Environment

The sleep environment is just as important as the bedtime routine for your child. Pediatrician Dr. Marc Weissbluth suggests that a child's bedroom should be a sleep sanctuary. This means optimal room temperature, controlled lighting, and minimal noise. Blackout curtains can be particularly effective for children sensitive to early morning light, and a white noise machine can drown out disruptive sounds.

Strategy 3: Limiting Screen Time

The blue light from screens can be incredibly disruptive to a child's natural sleep patterns. This light interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. By establishing a 'screen curfew' an hour before bedtime, you give your child's brain a chance to unwind and prepare for sleep. Instead, replace this time with calming activities like reading a book, solving a puzzle, or having a quiet family chat/download of the day. If your kids are used to being on screens before bed they may fight this at first but create a boundary and stick to it (the younger the better)!

Imagine bedtime in your household as a tranquil lullaby, each note flowing into the next, creating a melody of calm and restfulness. With each consistent step of the routine, like a soothing chorus, the once chaotic night turns into a peaceful serenade. The bedroom, a cocoon of comfort, shields your child from the day's stimuli, and the absence of screens acts like a gentle pause, preparing their mind for the world of dreams.

Additional Strategies to consider

Diet and Nutrition: Be mindful of your child's evening diet. A heavy meal just before bed can majorly disrupt your kids bedtime routine, as can sugary snacks. Opt for a light, nutritious snack if they're hungry. And avoid the ‘I’m thirsty!’ trap…. It’ll just mean interrupted sleep routines so they can use the toilet. Make sure they’re well hydrated during the day to quench the night time thirst.

Mindfulness and Relaxation: Teach your child simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization. These can be powerful tools in easing them into sleep. Ask them to close their eyes and take deep breaths in and out, counting each breath to see if they can get all the way to 100.

Parental Consistency: Remember, your approach to bedtime also matters. Stay calm and patient; your demeanor sets the tone for the night. If the routine is interrupted, calmly put them back to bed and start again.

Harnessing the power of Thumsters in your sleep training or bedtime routine can be a game-changer for your family. Our app is expertly designed to simplify and reinforce positive bedtime practices. With Thumsters, you can easily track, recognise and reinforce your child's progress towards a consistently settled bedtime.  

Little girl following her kids bedtime routine, reading a book before sleeping

Imagine turning the routine into a rewarding game – each step followed, like brushing teeth or putting on pyjamas, earns your child positive reinforcement through the Thumsters app. This gamified approach not only makes bedtime fun but also instils a sense of achievement and ownership of the routine in your child. Our app offers a plethora of resources, directly from child development experts, to fine-tune your routine for even the most challenging sleepers. But don't just take our word for it; experience the transformation yourself! Sign up for a free 2-week trial of Thumsters and witness the positive change in your child's bedtime habits. In just a fortnight, you'll see the power of a consistent, rewarding bedtime routine, all facilitated by Thumsters.

In the journey to peaceful bedtimes, remember that patience and persistence are your allies. Every child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Experiment with these strategies to find your perfect blend. And as you embark on this journey, remember that Thumsters App is your parenting companion. With features that help create healthy night time habits through positive recognition and reinforcement, Thumsters supports your goal of nurturing a well-rested, happy child. Transform bedtime from a battle to a bonding experience and download Thumsters today!

Bedtime is changed forever! I cannot recommend this app enough. It has changed bedtime with our kids forever. We have gone from multiple issues at bedtime and our little girl trying to delay it as long as possible to a quick and easy bedtime. She is so eager to earn a thumbs up to get her reward.
It has also massively helped with keeping her in her own bed at night. Tonight will be night 10 of her staying in her own bed all night long! You have to get this app! It will change your family.” – Shaeberr ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Other blog posts on sleep habits:

Snooze-worthyTips: A fun and effective way to get 8-12 year olds to sleep like a baby

MasteringBedtime Routine: A parent’s guide for children aged 1-3 years

SleepingAlone: 10 tips and tricks for helping kids stay in their own bed every night

ASleep-Deprived Mom’s Survival Plan: Helping your kids (ages 4-7) get a goodnight’s rest


The Impact of Sleep on Learning and Memory – The Perelman School of Medicine,University of Pennsylvania, Chronobiologyand Sleep Institute Discovering what makes us tick and sleep.