How to put your child to sleep – Tips for creating an evening routine - Toddiebag

How to put your child to sleep – Tips for creating an evening routine

Written by: Dr.Márta Árvainé Koczok – consulting psychologist 

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Putting children to sleep is a rather easy process at first, because the younger they are, the easier they get exhausted, so they fall asleep almost instantly. However, as the child grows, this process starts to get more and more complicated.

We cannot rock a 2-3-year-old child in our arms, either because he/she is too heavy or because the younger sibling is in our arms and we have to put both of them to sleep. But it is also very important to teach the child how to be independent, so to teach him/her how to sleep by him/herself, in his/her own bed.

Creating an evening routine, which is comforting for both parent and child, helps in accomplishing this.


How to create an evening routine?

  1. Think about what happens every evening at home. – Children usually take a bath, have supper and watch or listen to bedtime stories before going to sleep.
  2. Create an order together, which then you will follow every evening. – For example, have a bath at 19:00, have dinner at 19:30 and bedtime stories at 20:00.
  3. I recommend reading out stories rather than having the children watching them. – The many images appearing one after the other are too much stimulation for the children. They receive a lot of information and because of this, they will not calm down, but only get more hyper. They can even have nightmares as a consequence.
  4. Read the bedtime story in the nursery room. – The child should get comfortable in his/her own bed, or cuddle up to the mother/father in his/her sleeping bag and look at the illustrations for the story.
  5. Make sure that your child is wearing comfortable clothes, which are warm enough. – The child shouldn’t be cold or hot. The child’s night clothes shouldn’t be too tight, but comfortable and soft.
  6. Open a window to get some fresh air in the room. – Fresh air assists in having a good night’s sleep.
  7. Leave a bedside light on, if your child is afraid in the dark. – Many children are afraid in the dark, or don’t like to be left alone. In this case singing can help, or we can tell the child how the little animal on the child’s night clothes (e.g. the Toddiebag- animals) protects and looks after him/her.

What kind of bedtime story to tell?

It could seem hard at first to decide what to read your child, as he/she is too young and cannot pay attention for too long. However, if we put this activity into our evening routine, we will see that our child is going to get used to the bedtime stories, and eventually he/she will want it every day.

When choosing the right story, it is necessary to keep in mind the age of the child. You should read a different story and in a different way to a 2,  4, or 6-year-old.

2-3 years old:

At this age children like stories with lots of images and short text - when the stories are about them and their everyday life. The main characters can be children or animals. The story shouldn’t contain evil characters and scenes that need a lot of imagination. They like songs and riddles. They listen to lullabies with pleasure.

4-5 years old:

At this age children like almost anything. They like to listen to short stories, as well as the little longer ones. The stories should include twists and adventures. Children at this age can learn a lot from the human qualities of the animal characters, and they have favourite stories too.

6 years old:

6-year-olds can listen to long stories. They like them and are excited to find out what happens in the end. They like folk stories or short, illustrated novels, which can take days to read.

We should choose bedtime stories according to the age and preferences of our child. Putting our child to sleep becomes a successful process when he/she hears a story that he/she likes.

Children love those stories the most, which we invent and tell by heart, about their favourite stuffed animal or the animals decorating the nursery wall.

Make sure your child gets used to bedtime stories, and as a result, putting him/her to sleep is going to be a good experience: a journey to Storyland with your child.

Why are bedtime stories useful?

Stories take children to a land where everything is possible. – At this early age, the line between reality and imagination is very thin. Children learn through stories what is right and wrong, how to overcome difficulties, and how to reach what they desire.

Stories improve the vocabulary of the children like nothing else. – By listening to stories, children’s imagination, memory, thinking and emotional intelligence develop. They will be able to put their own feelings and thoughts into words more precisely.

It strengthens the connection between parent and child. – When the parent is reading something for the child, they experience this activity together.

While reading a story, or after it, it is possible to talk about the questions that the child wants to ask. – Children go through a lot of things every day, but they cannot put these into words. When the child hears about something in a story, it reminds him/her of a similar thing that happened to him/her. This way it is easier to talk through some dilemmas that the child has.

Stories are relaxing for children and recharge them. – Stories tell children to be self-confident. They can see themselves in the main characters and can become braver.

Stories calm children down. – Children are fascinated by many things in the world. Stories strengthen children’s beliefs in a kind and just world. They feel that everything is all right: the evil get their punishment and the good get the prize they deserve.

In conclusion, it is clear how useful bedtime stories are. Children are interested in stories from a very early age. It is good to spare 10-15 minutes for story telling every day, because later it will have its benefits. The emotions of the children get richer by stories and develop their cognitive skills. And last but not least, this activity strengthens the relationship between parents and children. Read stories, so that your child can be smart, clever and happy.

Did you know that there is a story about each animal that appears on the Toddiebag sleeping bags and approved by the author of this article? This story helps you and your child to fall in love with the sleeping bag and the animal pattern on it. At the same time, these stories help the child to calm down in the evening, while the sleeping bag ensures a good night’s sleep for both you and your child. To see the Toddiebags, click here, and to read the stories, click here.