9 Tips to Get Kids to Sleep on Time

Are you tired of your kids not going to sleep at bedtime? Here are 9 tips that will actually help your kids get to sleep on time.

As a parent, it can sometimes be challenging to get your child to sleep on time. You want to make sure they’re ready for bed at bedtime, but you also don’t want them to stay awake once they’re in bed. This is especially important during the school year, so they are well-rested.

Here are 9 bedtime tips that work for getting kids to sleep on time.

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1.) Make sure your child doesn’t have sugar or caffeine too close to bedtime.

a little boy drinking a glass of caffeinated iced tea

It’s important to make sure kids aren’t consuming foods or beverages that will keep them up at night. Caffeine especially can stay in a child’s system for several hours after they’ve consumed a soft drink.

Avoiding unnecessary drinks before bedtime is also a way to avoid extra trips to the bathroom. And this is one of the ways to prevent accidents at night in kids.

2.) Give kids time to ‘wind down’ before bed.

a little girl winds down before going to sleep by reading a story in bed snuggled with her teddy bear

Encourage calm and quiet activities toward the end of the day, such as drawing, coloring, doing activities in a puzzle book like this one, reading, and/or just take time to talk with them about their day. This gives them time to relax after what may have been a busy day.

It’s also a good idea to cut screen time short as multiple studies have shown screen time can affect children’s’ ability to fall asleep as well.

3.) Try to keep both bedtime and the time they wake up consistent.

a girl holds her alarm clock set to the time she always wakes up and stretches with enthusiasm after getting out of bed

If kids are going to bed or waking up at different times throughout the week, this can throw off their sleep schedule. Of course, it’s important to make sure they get enough sleep for what their body needs. However, if they sleep in too late one morning, they may have a hard time getting to sleep later that night at their bedtime.

4.) Give your child a bath before it’s time for bed.

a smiling little asian girl taking a bath before going to bed on time

Depending on the age of your kids and how they are, a bath may help them calm down and relax. This may work well especially for younger children and toddlers.

However, if you have older kids that can’t get to sleep too early, having them bathe or shower before bed may allow them to get up a little later in the morning so that they still get enough sleep if you push back their bedtime. But again, every child is different, so you’ll want to factor in their age and what works for your family.

5.) Have your child start getting ready for bed 10-20 minutes before their actual bedtime.

a little girl brushes her teeth 20 minutes before bedtime with her mom

By having kids get ready for bed before it’s time for them to go to sleep, getting your child to brush their teeth, etc., you can make sure they are actually in bed by their bedtime.

This also gives them time to take care of any other ‘needs’ they might bring up. If they ask for an extra glass of water or another blanket, you can humor them, without worrying about them being up too late.

6.) Make sure your child’s room is at a comfortable temperature for sleeping.

a parent's hand is shown putting on AC so their child can go to bed comfortably

Keep in mind that the temperature you enjoy for your sleep may be different than what your child finds comfortable. In the summer, make sure they are dressed cool enough. You’ll also want to make sure they have a fan or A/C on if it’s too hot.

And in colder weather, ensure they’re warm enough, have socks on if necessary, and that they have enough covers on their bed.

7.) Avoid keeping your child awake with light or noise from a nearby room.

a child lays awake in bed past bedtime being kept up by light and noise from a nearby room

Many parents take advantage of their child having an earlier bedtime than when they go to sleep. They use the extra time to get things done around the house or simply to relax.

However, if you are in a room close to your kid’s bedroom, you want to make sure you aren’t accidentally keeping them awake with sounds or light. Closing their door can help, as well as keeping the volume down on the TV.

If you make a phone call or have a conversation with your spouse, you can keep your voice down, and/or talk in a different part of the house.

8.) Make sure your child is aware of their bedtime and enforce it.

a clock says 8:00pm, which means it's bedtime for the kids

Some kids when asked don’t know what time their bedtime is. It’s important to not only establish an actual time for bed, but to make sure your child knows when it is and that you will enforce it.

Older kids especially will likely notice as the time in the evening gets close to their bedtime. This gets them in the mindset of getting ready for bed and winding down.

Update 09/18/2020: We’ve added a bonus tip…

9.) Praise and reward your child for listening and going to bed on time.

a mom hugs her little girl and praises her for going to be on time

Even if your child doesn’t fall asleep as soon as they get in bed, as long as they’re staying in bed and lying down quietly, they are doing what they should be doing.

Praising and rewarding your child for staying in bed quietly and lying down until they fall asleep may be a positive incentive for them.

If you have a toddler: click here to download and print out our free toddler sticker reward chart.

How to use the Free Toddler Sticker Reward Chart: Every time they do a good job getting ready for bed and going to sleep, they can earn a sticker. After ‘x’ amount of stickers (whatever number you decide,) they earn a reward- whatever you pick- big or small.

So those are 9 tips for getting kids to sleep on time. By setting a time for bed, making their atmosphere sleep-friendly, and being consistent, you will be able to get your child to sleep on time each night.

P.S. If you have a toddler or younger child: Don’t forget to grab our FREE Toddler Sticker Reward Chart. 

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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