Bedtime Routine to Help Kids 6-8 Transition to the School Day
No matter your kid's age, a good routine on a school night can help set them up for success. Bedtime routines are an excellent opportunity to let your kid be independent and start making their own decisions within a set framework. If you are having trouble getting your elementary school kid to bed at a reasonable hour, follow these bedtime routine tips.
Benefits of a Bedtime Routine on a School Night
Sleep is one of the foundations for well-being. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that elementary school kids get 9 to 12 hours of sleep daily, including naps1. For most kids, this means they must go to bed between 8 and 9 p.m. to get enough sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics stresses the importance of a calm and orderly bedtime routine to promote a good night's sleep for kids2.
Is a Proper Bedtime Routine Important for Kids' Development in Elementary School?
Research shows that a bedtime routine for kids is vital to their development and overall well-being3. Kids crave order and predictability, and it helps them process all of the transitions as they grow. A proper bedtime routine is also essential because it encourages kids to get enough sleep. A good night's rest helps kids stay focused in school, whereas lack of sleep can increase the risk for health problems such as poor mental health, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and injuries4.
Try This Bedtime Routine on a School Night
A bedtime routine helps transition your kid from the school day or after-school activities to a calmer frame of mind. Consider making a bedtime routine checklist for your kid to follow. If you need to make changes, such as adjusting the bedtime, make the changes gradually. Consider allowing your kid to help set the order of the bedtime routine tasks — kids feel more confident and independent when their input is requested.
Try this school night bedtime routine for kids ages 6-8:
- Ensure any take-home work is done (parent forms signed, etc.)
- Bath time [link to therapeutic bath article]
- Put on pajamas
- Brush hair and teeth
- Prepare clothes for the next day
- 20-30 minutes of calm play in a dim room
- Read a book
- Use the bathroom one last time
- Lights out
Since young kids only need baths two to three times a week5, the evening routine will vary slightly. Providing kid-friendly bath products is another way to encourage your child to take ownership of their hygiene routine. All Aveeno® Kids products are designed without harsh cleansers. The Aveeno® Kids Face & Body Wash gently cleanses without stripping natural oils to keep skin healthy, clean, feeling moisturized, and smelling fresh. For kids' hair, the Aveeno® Kids 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, with oat extract, hydrates and detangles hair, leaving it soft, smooth, and easy to manage. For kids with curly hair, Aveeno® Kids Curly Hair Shampoo and Aveeno® Kids Curly Hair Conditioner, with oat extract and shea butter, help define curls and control frizz.
Bedtime Routine Dos and Don'ts
As you develop a bedtime routine, here are some things to consider:
- Do actively participate in the routine with your child
- Do make the routine age-appropriate
- Do establish boundaries with your kid by following clear rules
- Do make the kid's room dark but not too dark (use a nightlight)
- Don't allow stimulating activities before bed (i.e., too much screen time)
- Don't wait until the child is sleepy to put them to bed
- Don't let your kid have caffeine (commonly found in sodas, teas, and chocolate) or sugary treats in the evening
- Don't stray from their regular sleep schedule too much on the weekends
How To Make Mornings Before School Stress-Free Too
With a solid bedtime routine, you may find that your school mornings have become less stressful. Another way to calm the hectic morning is to prepare the night before. For example, you can make lunches ahead of time and prep an easy grab-and-go breakfast. Gathering the kids' school items (backpack, shoes, coat, lunch box, etc.) in one area by the door will help facilitate getting out the door in the morning. Once the preparations are completed, don't forget to try and schedule some "you time" to reboot before the next day!
1. Paruthi S, Brooks LJ, D'Ambrosio C, et al. Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. J Clin Sleep Med. 2016;12(6):785-786. Published 2016 Jun 15. doi:10.5664/jcsm.5866
2. Cohen, GJ. America Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence. Random House Publishing Group; 1999.
3. Mindell JA, Williamson AA. Benefits of a bedtime routine in young children: Sleep, development, and beyond. Sleep Med Rev. 2018;40:93-108. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2017.10.007
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sleep and Health. Published May 29, 2019. Accessed July 6, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/sleep.htm
5. McCarthy, Claire. Does Your Child Need To Bathe Every Day? Harvard Health Publishing: Child & Teen Health. September 20, 2021. Accessed June 24, 2022. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/does-your-child-need-to-bathe-every-day-202109202598