2is important to establish a routine that both you andyour child understand and fnd calming and relaxing.Bedtime routines usually involve undressing, bathing,dressing in pajamas, brushing teeth, toileting or oldertoddlers and preschoolers, story and/or prayers (orchildren developmentally older than six months). Teorder and content will be dierent or each amily depending on the developmental age o your child, thetraditions o your amily, and the needs o your child’sspecifc disability.• Do and say the same things beore naps andbedtime. Tis helps your child transition romactive play to sleep.• Establish a predictable place or sleeping. I you want your child to sleep in his own bed, put himdown in his own bed. I you would like yourchild to nap in her room, guide her to sleep inher room. I you begin the bedtime routine inanother location (e.g., the rocking chair) and thenmove the child when sleeping, your child is likely to wake up during a light sleep cycle and becomeconused about her surroundings.
Help your child understand the steps in the napping and bedtime routines.
• First…, then… statements help your child under-stand and predict what will happen next. Youmight say, “Sara, it’s time to take a nap. First, let’sfnd teddy. Ten we can pick a book to read. Ten we can climb into bed and cuddle.”• Your child might beneft rom a picture scheduleor a picture book (photos, clipart, objects) o thesteps in her napping or bedtime. Tis can helpher understand the steps and expectations o theroutine. It can also help other adults and babysit-ters put her to bed in a similar manner. Supportingothers who put your child to sleep in a way thatyou have ound works will be very reassuring andcalming or your child and or them.
Tell your child what might happen when she wakesup.
Te day might have been so much un that yourchild does not want to take a break or a nap or go tobed or the night. Follow your calming routine, reas-suring your child that the un will continue when she wakes up. You might want to talk with her about what will happen when she wakes. You might want to showher a picture o what is going to happen ater she sleeps.For example, you might say, “First, sleep. Ten wakeup and we go to the park.” You might use pictures o sleep and park to help your child understand.
Carry a favorite transition object to bed
(e.g., ateddy bear, a blankie, a book). A transition objectbecomes another signal to the child that it is timeto go to sleep. Some children preer an object that issoothing to touch or cuddle while resting.
Provide your child with calming, rest-inducing activities, sounds or objects in the routine.
Avoidactivities that might excite your child in the hourbeore bedtime or nap. It is not a time or rough-housing, tickle games, or active play. It is not a timeor DVDs or computer games. In act, you might havean easier time with the naptime/bedtime transition i your child is not engaged in a avorite activity whenit is time to start the naptime or bedtime routine. It isimportant that your routine helps your child prepareor resting and sleeping. Some possible soothing itemsand activities include sucking a pacifer, hugging ablankie or sot animal, looking through or readinga avorite book, sot music on the CD player, beingrocked, a back rub, or singing a lullaby to your child.Reducing the noise and light in the room and nearby rooms is rest-inducing or many young children.
Put your baby or child down for sleep while she isstill awake.
Say “good night” and leave the room. By putting your baby/child down beore she’s asleep, shelearns to go to sleep on her own, an important skill orthe rest o her lie. I she alls asleep routinely in yourarms or a rocking device, she might get disorientedor scared when waking up in her crib or bed, rather