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What are good bedtime habits to develop in my child?

Nicole H. Gorton, MD
Pediatrics
Depending on your child, bedtime can be a blessing or a curse. Some children don’t like going to bed while others get into bed the moment they enter the bedroom.
 
Here are some tips for making bedtime easier:

The first rule is not to wait. If it looks like your child is tired, it’s time for bed. The last thing you want to do is allow young ones to get overtired, which can make them overly sensitive to light, noise and other stimuli. Signs of sleepiness aren’t that different in babies from what they are in adults: nodding off, eye rubbing and even grouchiness.

Set up a bedtime routine. Change his diaper, sing to him, read him a story, give him a bath or any combination of these. In time, your baby will learn that this means it's getting close to bedtime. Be careful, though. An overly elaborate routine might back you into a corner later on. The child will expect (and demand) the full treatment.

Overall, make sure you’ve set up a routine that’s sustainable.

Later, especially after your child has learned to talk, he may resist bedtime by devising elaborate stalls. Be gentle but firm. Children know when they are tired.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.