Bedtime Routine to Help My Toddler Sleep Better

Bedtime Routine to Help My Toddler Sleep Better

As parents, you want your children to grow up happy and healthy. This is why it’s heartbreaking to see your child having trouble sleeping. They may be waking up multiple times throughout the night or not want to go to sleep at all.

You may be asking yourself, ‘What can I do?’ Well, to start, you can establish a healthy bedtime routine. These routines can help your child develop better sleep hygiene.

What are bedtime routines?

Bedtime routine is basically a set of actions or rituals that you can perform together with your children before they go to sleep. 

Young children are not able to read the clock and tell time yet, so a bedtime routine helps to indicate that bedtime is near. This subconscious realisation will then trigger their bodies to start producing sleep-inducing hormones. Your baby’s mind will also start to wind down and begin preparing to sleep.

Bedtime routine is a simple and healthy way for you to establish a sleep schedule for your children. Consistent sleep schedules can help them overcome sleeplessness and achieve a good night’s rest.

What should be included in the bedtime routine?

Bedtime routine shouldn’t be too complicated. They should be relaxing in order to help your child wind down after a long day. These actions should also be done together in the same sequence every night. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Have a Nutritious Snack

Having a heavy meal before bedtime is a no-no, whether it’s for children or adults. This is because it can potentially cause indigestion and heartburn which can disrupt sleep. However, having a light and nutritious snack is okay. These can include warm drinks like milk or cereal beverages. Do avoid anything with caffeine, including chocolates, as these might affect your child’s sleep. Fruits, eggs, rice crackers, cheese, biscuits, oats and the like are good choices. 

2. Tidying Up

The act of putting away your children’s toys and tidying their room together has a de-stressing effect. It also helps your children learn how to organise and keep things clean, which is a good habit to inculcate from young. 

3. Taking a Warm Bath

There’s an old-wives-tale that says bathing before bedtime is bad for children, but this isn’t supported by any scientific data. Taking a bath before bedtime, especially in warm water, helps the muscles relax and loosen any tension they might have accumulated throughout the day. A warm bath is comforting and will help your children feel relaxed too. After the bath, you can help your children change into soft and comfortable pyjamas.

4. Brushing Teeth Together

Dental hygiene is important no matter what age you are. Starting your children young when it comes to teeth brushing will set the habit into their adolescence and adulthood. The act of brushing your teeth is one way to tell the conscious mind that bedtime is approaching. Therefore, the body will react accordingly.

5. Reading or Telling a Bedtime Story

Bedtime stories are the perfect opportunity to bond with your children. Furthermore, you can also take this opportunity to teach certain moral values and lessons to your kids through stories. The act of listening to stories is calming for them, especially when they’re listening to their parent’s voices.

6. Tucking Your Children In

The act of tucking your children into bed is much more than just covering them with a blanket and kissing them good night. It establishes and enforces your love for them as a parent. Many parents also take this time to have a short heart-to-heart chat with their children. Some include a lullaby to help their children sleep.

Bedtime Routine to Help My Toddler Sleep Better

Keeping It Consistent 

Before we move on, it is important to remember that the timing for bedtime routines is also important.

Performing the bedtime routine and going to bed at the same time each night is good for sleep hygiene. Furthermore, it will help regulate your child’s circadian rhythm better. 

What Should I Avoid?

In tandem with a bedtime routine that promotes sleep, you should also consider avoiding certain actions that can excite your toddler. These practices include:

Overly Rough and Stimulating Play

Any sort of active and physically rigorous play should be confined to the daytime. After dinner, you should help your child avoid running, wrestling, jumping and other vigorous activities. Additionally, you should also avoid tickling and chasing your children just before bedtime as these will lead to them being overstimulated too. An overstimulated brain is more difficult to wind down. 

Playing with Gadgets

Whether it’s a game console, phone, computer, laptop,r tablet or TV, they should be kept out of reach in the hours leading up to bedtime. This is because they emit a short wavelength light known as blue light, which can suppress or delay the production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for inducing sleepiness in humans.

Consuming Caffeine and High Levels of Sugar

Food and drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine should be avoided before bedtime. This is because caffeine is able to disrupt sleep in children. On the other hand, sugar might give them a boost of energy and alertness. Therefore, if you’re preparing a snack for your children before bed, avoid colas, candy, cakes and chocolates. Stick to fruits, vegetables, nuts and wholegrain. 

Establishing Poor Sleep Association

Some toddlers become heavily dependent on specific practices by their parents to fall asleep. These practices are a carry-over from the time they’re babies. Examples include rocking, nursing, patting and so on. Although parents feel that they need to continue these practices to help their children fall asleep, the ultimate goal should be to train their children to fall asleep on their own. 

Establishing Routines Takes Time and Effort

Bedtime Routine to Help My Toddler Sleep Better

There are no quick fixes to helping your children sleep better. It boils down to establishing a fixed schedule so that their circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns take over. 

If you’re worried about your child and would like to bring your toddler for a sleep pattern evaluation, do contact me and I’ll be able to provide professional toddler sleep training in Singapore, to help your child with scientific and proven methods.


  • Leann Low

    Hi, I am Leann Low, a Certified Baby Sleep Consultant and a mother to two healthy and energetic boys. I am a Baby Sleep Consultant based in Singapore, certified by the Sleep Sense™ Program created by Dana Obleman. As a sleep-deprived parent turned sleep consultant, I am certain that I can help you achieve the good sleep that you and your little one sorely need.