Bedtime Tips for Tense Times

Published on April 23, 2020 - Updated on April 24, 2020

Removing the Struggle From The Final Stages of Your Day

With the current crisis, we know that many of our happyly families have been thrown into a completely new way of life. Between homeschooling, working from home, and the lack of a regular routine, it’s no wonder you might find putting the kiddos to bed a bit more difficult than usual. Still, in a time of so much anxiety, it’s more important than ever to get healthy sleep.

Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for revitalizing your bedtime routine.


Practice Positivity

Did your parents ever tell you, “Everything looks better in the morning”? That’s because everyone tends to become more sensitive after a long day. While thriving in many aspects, it’s normal that our kids are struggling with the loss of their normal routine. It’s important to acknowledge their feelings while remembering that talking about heavy things before bedtime is likely to keep your little ones awake.

During dinnertime or bath-time, it’s fun to have each member of your family say one positive thing about the day. Practicing gratitude will help your kids calm down, realign, and prepare for sweet dreams.

Create a Pre-Bedtime Signal

Without a usual routine in place, it’s more difficult than ever for kids to conceptualize time. Quickly shifting gears to a new activity is more likely than usual to cause a meltdown. Rather than spontaneously announcing bedtime, create a signal as a family that lets your kids know they have thirty minutes until bed.

Perhaps get them into their pajamas with less urgency, turn off the screens and read a book, or even take a short walk. In our house, we start by dimming the lights.Think of it as a sunset! Easing the transition between daytime and nighttime isn’t a new idea, but it can make a huge difference.

Make Bedtime Something to Look Forward To

One of the best ways to make bedtime a positive experience for your family is to add something special to your routine. Find a treat you can add to bedtime that will give your kids something to look forward to.

It might be as big as buying your child a new pair of pajamas with a favorite character on them or as small as having a family dance party to a favorite song. Don’t overthink it, just do what works best for your family! Differentiating bedtime from the rest of the day is a simple way to make it feel positive and special.

Develop a Three-Step Ritual

Winding down is an essential part of a smooth transition to sleep, for children as well as adults. Consider the minutes before you lay down in bed - you likely have a process that remains fairly consistent from one night to the next.

This type of ritual may be deliberate, or entirely subconscious, but either way, it helps you move toward a restful state. The three steps can vary to suit your needs, but laying out clothes for the next day, stretching or saying a prayer and turning on lullabies are highly effective, especially when performed in the same order each night.


Remind Your Child

With everything that has changed in the past month, your child is likely feeling overwhelmed. After all, they’ve taken in a lot of new information! Wait, Mom and Dad work while I’m at school? Wait, I have to wash my hands for how long?

Take some time before bed to remind your child of three things that don’t change. Make up your own, or try these: 1) I love you, 2) I’m always going to try to keep you safe, and 3) You can always talk to me about how you feel. Reminding your child of what’s true before they fall asleep can do a lot to ease stress.

Keep it Consistent

Ah, consistency, the most important — and somehow, the most difficult — piece of the bedtime puzzle. In a time where your family’s schedules and commitments have been thrown into whack, consistently getting up and going to bed at the same time can make all the difference. It will be easier for your kids to fall asleep at night if they’re used to going to bed at the same time.

We know it may be hard to believe at this moment, but with the help of some of these tips, your kids will be further on their way to peaceful, healthy sleep! Hopefully you can catch some extra Zzzz’s in the process!

What's working well for you and your family? We look forward to hearing from you at

We welcome you to check out our blog for more inspiration from a list of Things That Aren’t Cancelled, live vicariously through writer Colin Boyd in Climb Mountains: A Right Of Passage or follow our list of April Weeknight Meal Plans to keep it creative in the kitchen.

Also, please take a moment to explore this week’s happyly Survival Toolbox, including our Daily Schedule designed to create positive days at home with your family. As always, we welcome your family's highlights! Tag us on Instagram @gethappyly!

Thoughtfully captured by:
Kayla Rutledge
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Removing the Struggle From The Final Stages of Your Day