6 top tips to make bedtime fun for kids
For most kids, bedtime is often viewed as either a chore, a punishment or both - certainly something to fight against rather than look forward to - but it really doesn’t have to be this way!
If you’re a parent tired of battling with the kids at bedtime and have found yourself at your wits end with it all - then don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Hudel, when it comes to making bedtime fun for kids, we’re the experts, as we’ve been turning bog-standard children’s bedrooms into sleep havens for more than 15 years.
As well as being parents ourselves, it’s this experience (along with a genuine love of sleep and lie-ins!) that has spurred us on to learn a thing or two about how to make bedtime something that kids actually look forward to. Don’t believe us? Then read on for some great tips!
1. Start the bedtime ‘wind down’ process early
So this isn’t a ‘fun’ tip, but we promise that following this rule will make your life easier. Ultimately, when bedtime is ‘sudden’ and kids go straight from playtime to bedtime then going to bed really does feel like a punishment and is associated as a negative thing.
By starting the process much earlier, bedtime can approach much more gradually and not signal the end of fun for the day. Also - this approach is just plain practical. There’s a lot to do before bedtime - tidying, bath, brushing teeth, pyjamas on, reading… so it feels much more natural to not rush the process but enjoy it instead.
2. Incorporate fun, but calming activities into your routine
To help make the whole process enjoyable, incorporate some fun and calming activities that kids enjoy, but that also help the winding down process take effect. Some of our favourite ideas include:
This can be made more fun by you as the parent or guardian joining in and creating a ‘storytime’ feel to the routine. This way the child isn’t left to independently read as this could lead to boredom and getting out of bed, etc. Instead, see it as an opportunity for some quality time together and take turns to read for different characters.
Again story cubes can make bedtime more interactive and make the child feel less they are being ‘shut out’ for the evening. With story cubes you and the child can create your own fun stories.
Bedtime meditation / yoga
It’s never too early to be mindful. Encourage the child to reflect on their day and wind down with a bit of meditation or yoga. Allow the child to reflect aloud, telling you what made them happy during the day and what they are looking forward to for the next day.
Bath time games
Bathtime can often signal the end of play for the day and it becomes a strict routine of getting ready for bed. Introducing some games to bathtime can encourage your child to enjoy the process without seeing it as a chore. Invest in some bathtime toys or paints to keep the child distracted and entertained.
3. No more ‘go to your room!’
If you want a child to love being in their room, then try not to make being in there a punishment. If the kids have been playing up and you decide that they need a time out, try and find an alternative spot for them to reflect in.
4. Create a bedtime sanctuary
As well as trying to distance any association between bedtime and punishment, create a space that the child absolutely loves being in.
Our Mathy By Bols range of beds we find are the perfect solution for parents looking to inject instant fun into their kids bedrooms. Or, alternatively, our Denbed by Hudel Living can provide the perfect solution as a den with great storage!
5. Dim the lights
When creating the perfect bedtime sanctuary for your kids, consider lighting both in the room and around the home. Dimming the lights as you start the bedtime routine can be a great way of subliminally indicating that it’s time for bed. Exposure to room lighting can result in a later melatonin onset (the sleepy hormone that regulates our sleep cycles) and can even reduce its duration by around 90 mins. (The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism).
6. Allow your child to make decisions
Within reason, allow the child to decide when they would like to go to sleep. If you ‘warn’ that they have a certain amount of minutes left before they must sleep, this can induce anxious feelings for the child as they know they must end their wind-down activity. Likewise if you instruct abruptly “it’s time for sleep now”, this can be too sudden to the child and cause them frustration. Instead make this time frame a window, telling the child “you need to switch off your light in the next 30 minutes”. This way they feel the control is in their hands and they can choose when to switch out the light.
Take a look at our full range of bedroom furniture and accessories that can help your child view bedtime as a fun and comforting time.