5 Bedtime Rituals That You'll Enjoy Just As Much As Your Kids Do
Summertime: The season of sun, fun, and sporadic sleep schedules. Between vacations, dinner parties, and backyard barbecues, it can be next to impossible to get our little ones (and ourselves) into a steady sleep routine. And while staying out past bedtime might be fun in the moment, no parent wants to deal with a cranky kid the day after.
Kids … they need their sleep.
Getting adequate hours of sleep is crucial for the well-being of the whole family. As adults, we know that the recommended seven to nine hours1 plays a huge role in our comprehensive health. But how many hours do our mini-me's need? It depends on age. According to the National Sleep Foundation1:
Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
Children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
And every one of those hours spent sawing logs matters. Studies show that when kids are short on sleep, they're at risk of "a wide range of negative physical, social, emotional, and cognitive outcomes2," from poor concentration to obesity to injuries. Not only does optimal sleep help our kiddos maintain a good mood3, but it also plays a huge role in brain development4—including memory and emotional control.
Science aside, every parent already knows that a turbulent night of sleep doesn't exactly bring out the best in their offspring… But a bedtime routine is about even more than well-being: Bedtime is the best time for bonding. The sweet moments of snuggles and stories before they doze off are the kind that forgive grocery store tantrums and simply bring you closer. A bedtime ritual isn't a chore, it's something to make the most out of—starting with a more mindful mattress choice, like the Eco Organic Kids Mattress by Avocado Green Mattress. Add these five ideas and bedtime won't feel like a closing argument anymore… With rituals like these, they'll be more excited to sleep than you are:
1. Invest in a healthier mattress.
The first step of any bedtime routine: climbing into bed and cozying up. As parents, we want our little one to rest their head on only the best. And with as many nights as we spend sending them into lalaland—we should also be comfy! The Eco Organic Kids Mattress by Avocado Green Mattress is made with all the good stuff: like GOTS certified organic cotton and wool to deliver breathable and luxurious comfort. And none of the bad: like toxic chemicals, off-gassing, chemical flame retardants, fiberglass, or polyurethane foams. From safety to durability to social responsibility, this affordable mattress helps you sleep safe and sound because they are.
For extra support, check out the Kids Trundle Bed Frame by Avocado Green Mattress, made with sustainable 100% American-grown beech. It provides the much-needed under-bed storage for toys and books so that your little one's room feels clean and calm. Add the plush Organic Toddler Pillow on top, filled with organic materials, and your kiddo has the sleep sanctuary they deserve.
2. Co-author a bedtime story.
There's no kid on earth that will tire of bedtime stories… But you might get tired of telling the same story on repeat. Well, time to dip into the creative reservoirs and invite your child in on the plotline. Task them with the job to think of three random things that they want to see in your story (for example—a lion, a house, and a thunderstorm). As the storyteller, it's your job to come up with a riveting, never-been-told story that incorporates all three. And on nights when you could use a little help in the storytelling department, The Little Blue Planet Children's Book is a great pick to inspire young readers about climate change and caring for our earth!
3. Wish upon glow-in-the-dark stars.
There are some things that, no matter how old you are, will always trigger a sense of childlike wonder—and glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars is one of them. They may be retro, but as soon as the lights go down and the ceiling pops off… You and your little one will find yourselves transfixed by the constellations. Make it a ritual each night to pick out one star (or constellation) and make a wish.
4. Gratitude list.
One of the best gifts we can give our children (and ourselves) is a gratitude practice. Resting in the newfound comfort of the Eco Organic Kids Mattress, take a moment to each list out five things that you're grateful for. They can be big or small, but taking a moment to cultivate gratitude with your little one is a ritual that feels good and does good—research5 has proved that gratitude is associated with better sleep quality and duration!
5. Breathe together.
After a particularly busy summer day, simple breathwork is an exercise that you can practice together to wind down and get sleepy. For a couple of minutes, practice slow and deep belly breathing—inhaling and exhaling fully. To make it more interesting for those with short attention spans, put a stuffed animal on your kid's belly. Challenge them to take big inhales and exhales to move the animal higher and lower. Breathe with them so that you can reap the benefits too!
Make tonight's bedtime better.
There's nothing sweeter than summertime, but it's also the time of year when routines easily unravel. As a reminder: Sleep is integral to a happy family! Meaningful bedtime rituals can help your little one, and your relationship with them, grow and flourish… Research6 even shows that bedtime rituals can ease parental stress! Whether it's advancing your storytelling skills or investing in an Avocado Green Mattress for soft, contouring support—bedtime is better when it's heartfelt and cozy. (And don't worry, they make the Eco Organic Mattresses for grown-ups and an Eco Organic Crib Mattress for younger children too!)
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Editor at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.