Hot Topics     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

Create a bedtime routine for your child



A regular series of steps makes an orderly, soothing transition into sleep

Create a bedtime routine for your child


When you establish a routine, you're setting up a sequence of events that are followed consistently at the same time each day, giving children a sense of security because they know what to expect. Routines for various transition times (see our article on this topic) are useful, and none is more important than bedtime, when your child is settling down to sleep.

You will also benefit from a bedtime routine because it gives you necessary time to yourself after your child has fallen asleep.

Put a bedtime routine in place as early as four months of age and no later than one year. Jyoti Krishna, M.D., Director, Pediatric Sleep Medicine at Akron Children's Hospital, says it's best to put children down to sleep while they're still drowsy, not fully asleep, so they're not dependent on parents to fall asleep.

Here are more tips for an easy transition:

Slow down

About 30 minutes before sleep time, cut off activities that are stimulating. Turn off the TV, call a halt to running, jumping, and other physical exercise.

Shift to soothing activities

Move on to something calmer, such as a bath, reading a book aloud, a gentle massage, a period of nursing or bottle feeding. Try different options to see what works best.

Adjust the atmosphere

Most babies sleep best with a firm mattress, a comfortable temperature, and either darkness or a night light. Some like to have soft music playing.

Provide nourishment

Breastfeeding or a bottle helps prepare a baby for sleep. A toddler can have a light snack with both carbs and protein, followed by toothbrushing.

Stick to a pre-determined bedtime

Consistency helps train your child to fall asleep at a given time. If you keep changing bedtime, it will be harder to maintain naps and sleeping through the night. You might make exceptions for special occasions like holidays and birthdays, but the more you stay on schedule, the less stress there will be for you and your child.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Brings Popular ‘Knee High Naturalist’ Program to Newburgh

    Great nature program for little kids

    With generous support from Hudson Valley Credit Union and the Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund, the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum (HHNM) has been able to bring its popular Knee High Naturalists Program to the Newburgh Public Library on Tuesdays from 10am-10:45am, at no charge to Newburgh residents. read more »
  • Mental health tips for COVID-era teens

    How teens can tackle their distinctive issues

    Mental health issues in teens can be very distinctive to their age group, but this age group in particular has significant advantages, too. read more »
  • Fun activities for Earth Day

    Celebrate Earth Day with these fun things to do with your family

    HVP has picked some of the best things you can do with your family to celebrate Earth Day. From feeding the birds to recycling household items. read more »
  • 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day at home

    Do something green for the planet on this day dedicated to preserving the Earth

    This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth”. Here are some things families can do at home to celebrate from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. read more »
  • Get your kids interested in birding

    Great spots you can watch birds in the Hudson Valley

    NYS has hundreds of species of birds. The Hudson Valley has lots of places where you and your family can observe them. See this list of places to go and what you may see. read more »
  • How to focus on college during these times

    College admissions expert shares 7 great tips

    Halley Shefler, a college admissions expert and the Founder & President of ArtsBridge, offers suggestions on how to approach the college search. Shefler heads a consulting firm that works with high school students who aspire to study the arts. She shares some tips and activities that students should keep in mind to make the most out of their high school spring break. read more »
  • How to be funny, and how not to be

    Famous comedian Roy Wood Jr. offers tips

    Being funny can be a kid’s superpower, but it can also become a weapon to wound. Comedian Roy Wood Jr. helps fellow parents guide children accordingly. read more »
  • How and when to teach kids about homophobia

    A two-mom couple offer tips on having this crucial conversation

    Social media influencers Ebony and Denise, moms of three kids, have some helpful guidance on how and when to broach the topic of homophobia with your family. read more »
  • One dad’s most important parenting lesson

    A father of four shares his number one rule

    According to Swampy Hawkins, father of four, kids need honesty and consistency more than anything. read more »
  • Joyful rest is a necessity

    Evolving attitudes towards taking it easy

    African-American mom Domari Dickinson talks to Popsugar’s Kate Schweitzer about the challenges she faced when she was forced to make time for rest in her family’s schedule read more »