Healthy Bedtime Routines

Starting healthy bedtime routines at a young age can have positive effects on your child as he or she grows. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends following a three-step process each night: Brush, Book and Bed.

This routine can start as early as 6 months of age and should be followed closely until the child reaches school age, about age 6. At that point, the child may begin some of the responsibilities on his or her own.

Step 1: Brushing teeth

Dental hygiene is extremely important to your child’s overall health and development. Help your child brush and floss his or her teeth, and begin to teach proper techniques. Take a look at our dental tips and tricks for additional information.

Step 2: Reading a book

As your child settles into his or her bed, pick out a book or two to read together. Studies show that reading aloud to your child has multiple positive outcomes. This parent-to-child moment can improve learning and early literacy skills, while also curbing problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention.

Taking a few extra moments each night to read together will shape your child’s cognitive, social and emotional development. It also serves as a great bonding opportunity between you and your child. As your child grows, this time may open up dialogue between you two, and scenarios in books may lead to teachable moments.

Step 3: Getting to bed at a regular time

Getting sufficient sleep is important at any age. As your child grows, sleep routines can make managing day-to-day schedules a lot easier on the whole family. If you’re welcoming a little one into your life, consider these tips from our pediatric team.

If your child is struggling with the nightly routine, reach out to your pediatrician for advice.