June 5, 2017

Child Therapy: Sleep Schedule

Parenting can be summed up with one emotion: tired. “My child doesn’t fall asleep until 2 AM and doesn’t wake up until 11 AM”. “My child keeps waking up at 4 AM and won’t go back to sleep”. These are few common struggles of bedtime routines for families. It takes time to establish a consistent sleeping schedule, but it is not impossible. Learn more about the appropriate amount of sleep your child needs, how to establish a bedtime routine, and how to adjust unsavory sleeping schedules.

What is an appropriate amount of sleep for my child?

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How can I create a bedtime routine?

  • Decide on an appropriate bedtime for your child. Be consistent with this bedtime throughout the week, even on weekends and during vacations
  • Schedule naps and meals around the same time every day. Predictability will help your child remain calm and happy before relaxing for bedtime
  • Establish and reinforce a predictable bedtime routine beginning 30 minutes before bedtime. Common bedtime routines include bath, story time, rocking in a chair, and then going to bed. Avoid making the bedtime routine too long
  • Continue to talk about the nightly routine. Consider making a visual schedule and verbally remind your child of the nightly routine. Click here to learn how to create a visual schedule


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Make your child a part of the nightly routine. Allow them to pick out their pajamas, book, song, etc. Have your child pick out a favorite stuff animal or blanket in their bed

How can I change my child’s bedtime?  

  • Changing your child’s bedtime will take time. It is unrealistic to change a bedtime from 10 PM to 8 PM in a day. Work in 15-minute increments. Instead of putting your child to bed at 10, try 9:45 PM. Once the new bedtime is fully established, shift to 9:30 and so on
  • Do not forgot to change the time of all other evening activities. If you are changing the bedtime to 15 minutes earlier, then dinner, bath time, story time, etc. need to be moved 15 minutes earlier as well
  • Over time the new sleep schedule may change other aspects of your child’s day. They may wake up earlier in the morning and/or be tired earlier for a nap. If you change your child’s bedtime to an earlier time, be prepared for an earlier morning routine

Once you create a new sleeping schedule, read more about improving your child’s night sleep. If your child is having difficulty going to bed and/or not getting enough sleeping, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapy to speak with an Occupational therapist.



Establishing Bedtime Routines for Children. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2017, from https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/ChildrenAndYouth/Bedtime-Routines.aspx

Kiley, C. (2016, July 22). 10 principles for helping baby sleep through the night. Retrieved May 26, 2017, from http://mamaot.com/10-principles-for-helping-baby-sleep-through-the-night/

Owens, J. (2017, February 28). How can I change my toddler’s sleep habits? Retrieved May 26, 2017, from https://www.babycenter.com/404_how-can-i-change-my-toddlers-sleep-habits_7542.bc

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