A Nightly Routine that Everyone Can Enjoy

School Age

It’s the end of the day, and family time is in full swing with bedtime approaching—a reliable night routine will continue to keep everyone on track. Setting up the routine and getting everyone on board is the hardest part. It won’t be long before your family knows what to expect and your new habits become ... well, routine!

Mealtime is family time

Studies show kids whose families eat dinner together actually get better grades, eat more nutritious foods and are less likely to get into trouble with drugs and alcohol.

Find family fun

Make it a point to be active as a family. Take a walk after dinner and let the kids ride their bikes. If you make plenty of time for play in the afternoon and evening, you’ll take the battles out of bedtime!

Go dark

Turn off all screens (cell phones included) an hour before bed, so they don’t interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep. Remove all screens from the bedroom for even better snoozing.

Enjoy bedtime without battles

With ample activity under their belts, your kids will be good and ready for bed! Most school-aged kids need somewhere between nine and 11 hours of sleep a night. Think about what time your child needs to wake up in the morning, and that will help you determine a reasonable bedtime.

Make a plan

Routines depend on some advanced planning, so take a little time each night to think through the next day. Your child may be able to help you with some of the following:

  • Determine if your child will buy lunch at school or pack lunch. If he is packing lunch, he can help prepare it.
  • Put together a healthy after-school snack in a designated spot in the fridge or pantry. Your child is more likely to make a healthy choice if it’s quick and easy for them to find.
  • Think about tomorrow’s dinner. Is there anything you can do now to make it faster and easier to prepare tomorrow? For example, chopping veggies, thawing meat in the refrigerator and gathering spices and oils needed for cooking.