Adopted Children and Bedtime Routines
Your adopted child is going to need a bedtime routine in place. Young children thrive on a scheduled routine. They need order and structure in their lives. How long should the bedtime routine take? Maybe half an hour, an hour? It depends on how long it typically takes for your child to fall asleep each night. Listed below are some ideas for your child's bedtime routine:
- The entire hour before your child's bedtime needs to be free of TV, video games, vigorous play, or any other kinds of stimulating activities which don't allow the brain to rest.
- Bedtime snacks. Give your child healthy bedtime snacks to get rid of those after-dinner tummy rumbles. Complex carbohydrates, turkey, apples, peanut butter, bananas, soy and dairy products are all good to sleep on.
- Talk over the bedtime routine with your child. “First, we're going to have our bedtime snack, then we are going to brush our teeth...” Children, again, need routines to follow.
- Baths. Your child will sleep much better through the night if they are fresh and clean-- free of the dirt and grime from daytime play!
- Brush their teeth. Help your child to brush their teeth. Make sure you talk to your child; it helps promote the learning of vocabulary. “We're going to use our toothbrush to brush our teeth. Let's count how many teeth we have! The big ones are molar teeth...”
- Put pajamas on. Pajamas at night, regular clothes in the morning. Be sure to change your child into their regular, daytime clothes to promote a clear distinction between nighttime routines and daytime routines.
- Tour your adopted child's bedroom and say goodnight to their favorite stuffed animals, naming them off as you do so. “Say goodnight to our giraffe, our elephant, our bear...” Doing so helps your child to learn more words and is a great bonding exercise.
- Put your child in their crib or bed and slip a small prize under their pillow (age appropriate). Perhaps, a good night's sleep will let them have a new sticker the next day or a free pass to have a special snack the next day.
- A gentle back or foot massage can help to calm your child and get them ready to sleep. It's also another great way to bond with your child—if they aren't ticklish!
- Book reading. Allow your child to pick out a couple of short books to read to them while they lay in the bed or crib. Be sure the lights are dim at this point. This is all about them hearing your voice telling the story. If they hear your voice, it will be comforting and will allow them to drift off to sleep knowing they are safe.
Please feel free to contact Radis Adoptions at 800-813-9345 for more information about promoting good bed time routines with your adopted child.