Chicago Occupational Therapy’s Tips For Bedtime

The bedtime routine can be a struggle for many parents of younger children. Occupational therapists frequently work with kids whose functions and senses are benefitted from a good night sleep. Below are some tips from occupational therapists on making the bedtime routine more successful, leading to a better night sleep for everyone in the family!

Goal: To establish a specific bedtime and bedtime routine


  • Establish an appropriate bedtime and be consistent every night, even on weekends and on vacations
  • Begin bedtime routine a half hour before, and develop a consistent set of events that occur (i.e. bath, pajamas, story, etc.)

Goal: To help your child relax and get ready for sleep


  • Avoid TV or exercise right before bedtime; these can make children more alert
  • Have children pick up toys before bedtime; a reduction of clutter can help children focus on bedtime
  • Play soothing music to relax the child and signal that bedtime is approaching

Goal: To ensure your child is safe while sleeping alone


  • For infants, remove any blankets and stuffed animals from the crib to prevent suffocation
  • For older children who might use the bathroom in the middle of the night, ensure that there are night lights and a clear pathway to the bathroom
  • Tie any cords or other hazards out of the child’s reach to prevent choking, and use a guard rail or pillow on the floor to prevent injury from falls out of bed

Goal: To help your child become more independent in sleep


  • Starting at around 2 months of age, place the child in bed before they are asleep so they can learn the process of putting themselves to sleep
  • Older children should go to bed at the established time, even if they don’t feel tired; read to them or have them read to themselves to help them relax