Over the age of around 10 years of age, children generally don’t need a bedtime routine any longer. They need a warning when bedtime is approaching, and to be told to brush their teeth and put their pyjamas on, but after the final call for lights out they will tuck themselves in and perhaps read something for a little while. Job done. For kids younger than 10, there is a grey area right around the 8-10 years mark, where bedtime stories feel too ‘kiddie’ and leaving them to put themselves to bed just feels like, well, ignoring them, because that’s what it is. So, what can we do for the 8-10 year olds? Is there a routine that suits them better? Yes, is the answer.
At this age, kids crave routine. That’s why printing out this little list and agreeing it with your child isn’t a bad idea – if you need ink, be sure to look up why toner cartridges are different to normal ink cartridges.
1 hour before bed – power down
Devices produce blue light. When this blue light enters the eye, a signal is sent to the brain telling us that the time of day is somewhere right in the middle – around 12PM, where the sun is at its brightest. In turn, our brains respond by cancelling all feelings of sleepiness. This means that when your child uses devices right up until bedtime, the brain is going to be confused by the sudden change in apparent light levels, and extra time will be taken for the signal to be sent to the rest of the body to fall asleep. This can all be avoided by powering down from devices 1 hour before bedtime.
Talk and plan
You now have 1 hour per day to fill away from video games and social media sites. But what to do with it? Talk and plan. That’s what. This is time to get to know each other. This is time to talk about what we enjoyed in the day and what we didn’t enjoy so much. Use this time to plan for tomorrow, so there is less stress in the morning when you suddenly remember that the sports kit you need is still wet on the washing line. In these 60 minutes, plans for the future can also be made. Speak to your child about what they want to be when they grow up – this is not only a fantastically entertaining topic of conversation (in which you can help guide them), but it will send your child to bed thinking of happy future thoughts, which is known to help us to nod off in comparison to going to bed with concerns and worries on our minds.