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Putting children down for bed allows you to build bedtime rituals that will last a lifetime.

For the past four years I have been blessed enough to roll out a ritual that allowed my god-daughter to settle down into bed pleasantly. We talk for a few minutes about anything that is on her mind.  It allows her to alleviate any worries she might have. We say prayers.  I put on some classical music and her scented night light. She usually snuggles down and goes right off. It also will allows you to calm yourself as well.

Many would say that this is far too much when my schedule is so packed.  There  is a school of though that says that when the child is tired he or she will go to bed. That is far from the truth!  You can’t depend on kids,  to let you know when they’re tired.

Instead, it’s up to parents to know how much sleep their kids need. The biggest “stresser” in most homes is the lack of schedule and organization. If you are stressed at bedtime make sure that you read 3 Stress-Less Tips For Working Moms.

You can also try a memory book. If something great or sad happened to your child take a common journal and write it down for them. It allows them to have a “daily closure” ritual. You will be amazed at how much you will know about your child in the journal.  After you have recorded the memory, write a special note to them.  When they are old enough hand the journal over to them. It will have valuable memories. I can’t tell you how much I wish I had hand written notes from my mother,now that she is gone.

Here are some averages, which include daytime and nighttime sleep:

  • 0-1 year: 13-16 hours
  • 2-4 years: 11-13.5 hours
  • 5-9 years: 10-11 hours
  • 10-14 years: 9-10 hours
  • 15-18 years: 8-9 hours

Studies have shown that with consistent sleep and wake times, the body will eventually start to feel sleepy at the same time every night. This is good news for parents. Build a consistent bedtime into your schedule, and ease kids into it with a regular routine that might include some or all of the following:

Lowering the lights and turning off all electronics 30-60 minutes before bed.

  • A light snack that includes both protein and carbs. I would give grapes.
  • A warm because it gives a sense of comfort.
  • Brushing teeth and setting hair.
  • Cuddle time, especially with your favorite books.
  • Soft music.

Of course, older kids and teens are going to be far more independent, but most sleep experts recommend that you stick to the no electronics rule at bedtime.

Besides, evening is a great time of day to hang out as a family.

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Bedtime Rituals That Build Memories  was originally published on