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Healthy sleep routines

  • 1-5 Years
  • 5-11 Years
  • 11-19 Years
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  • Sleep
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Healthy sleep routines (also known as sleep hygiene or a bedtime routine) are very important for children’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing at every developmental stage. If your child has had enough sleep, they will be ready to have fun and learn.

The core principles of a sleep routine

The core principles of setting a routine are:

    • avoid bright lights from electronics like TVs or phones
    • create a calm and comfortable environment for your child
    • stay consistent and predictable with the routine
sleep routine graphic showing off switch, a lotus flower and an alarm clock

Preparing a sleep routine

Every child is different with different needs and preferences, when setting up a routine you need to keep your own child in mind. What works for some children, may not work for others.

It can take time to see the benefits of a sleep routine so don’t worry if it takes some trial and error before you find the best routine for your child.

If your child does not have a set routine, you may need to start slowly and build up to a full bedtime routine. Some ways to get started with a routine is by:

  1. Noticing what time your child naturally gets tired.
  2. Starting your new ‘wind down’ routine about an hour before your child naturally gets tired.
  3. Gradually shifting bedtime to one that suits your family lifestyle and makes sure your child gets enough sleep.

Maintaining a sleep routine

The most important element of a bedtime routine is to be consistent. You will need to do the same activities at the same time every night (including weekends) so your child knows it is bedtime. A regular and predictable routine will be comforting. 

There will be occasions where you will need to adapt the routine to fit the situation such as illness or big events, but this should not disrupt the routine that you have created for your child.


Do you need more specific advice for your child's needs?

If your child needs more help or has additional needs, you can visit our specific section for extra support.

Sleep for additional needs page

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023

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Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s sleep, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

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