Bedtime Help for Working Parents

Here's to everyone getting a better sleep at night

Bedtime Help for Working Parents


It can be frustrating to working parents to hear sleep educators like myself tell you to put your child to bed earlier to promote better sleep. Here I am telling you to put your child to bed at the same time you are getting home from work and daycare pick up, and the task can be an impossible feat. But before you start cursing me out, let me share with you some realistic sleep tips you can apply to working families so that everyone can get to sleep a little easier at night.

It all starts with this:

Promote Better Sleep Before Bedtime Begins


Preparation is key so try to make after-work family events easy. While it may be tough to hit that earlier bedtime there are steps that you can take to try to make it as early as possible. I’m all for a great slow cooker meal. Have dinner cooking while you are at work so that you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time around the dinner table enjoying a fun family dinner. Check out Maija Moments Easiest Slow Cooker Roast Chicken. This is always a hit at our house - it's seriously delicious! Not into crockpot meals? Sarah Remmer shares 3 Easy Supper Ideas For The Time Crunched Mom. Breakfast for supper is happening at least once a week at the Good Night home.

A consistent bedtime routine – no matter what time it starts – is key to a good nights sleep for the entire family. I get it, it’s been a long day, and most of the time we have our sight on that finish line and bedtimes can become rushed and crazed. Practicing a consistent routine with your child not only helps prepare them for bedtime but it allows parent and child to have that one-on-one time that is missed throughout the day. This is where we can ask the questions, open up communication with our little ones, and share in fun, yet calming activities that we all enjoy.

Create a sleep environment for your child that is inviting to sleep and this should start with making sure it’s a consistent sleep environment. Once your child feels safe and secure in their own room, they will have a higher chance of staying in their own bed throughout the night and suddenly the whole family is sleeping better.

Try and aim for an earlier bedtime when possible. I can’t not throw this in - #sorrynotsorry. Even if you can aim to make bedtime 15 to 30 minutes earlier than what is normally you have a better chance of putting your child down well-rested, making it easier for them to fall asleep. If an earlier bedtime isn’t possible but you feel your child is overtired during the week try and hit an earlier bedtime on the weekends and protect those weekend naps as best you can.

How You and Your Daycare Provider Can Make Bedtime Better


I’ve worked with many parents and providers and there are struggles on both sides. Typically they are the same frustrations from each party. The feelings are that either the parent or provider can’t meet the child’s nap schedules, or sleep habits and routines need to be established, sometimes by the parents and sometimes by the providers.

So what can we do as parents?

If you are in the process of researching providers, whether it be a center or home daycare, try and find a provider that matches your philosophies best and one that will follow your child’s existing sleep routine as best they can. Parents have to understand that some daycare providers have their own schedule for naps and activities due to regulations of that center, also due to the amount of children and different age groups attending.

It’s not up to your daycare provider to sleep train your child. If your little one is struggling with sleep issues it’s best to try to tackle these issues before daycare begins. Things likely won’t sort themselves out at daycare and starting daycare is a big transition one that can disrupt sleep even to the best sleepers. Work on healthier sleep habits before heading back to work if you can.

The most important tip I can share is to open up communication with your provider. If all the above tips aren’t realistic for your family then the best thing you can do is make sure you and your provider work as a team. There should be a sleep check-in at drop offs and pick up’s. When the provider knows how the child has slept throughout the night they can adjust the sleep schedule during the day to better meet the sleep needs of that child. Also if naps aren’t as restorative as they could be during the day, parents can make sure bedtime is appropriately matched when they are armed with this knowledge. So try and slow down at drops offs and pickups. Ask the questions and provide the information you need to on your child’s sleep.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter.

See also: Sleep Training Your Baby - How Soon is Too Soon?


Help! My New(ish) Baby Won't Nap!

Sleep Tips for 4th Trimester Sleep Zone

Help! My New(ish) Baby Won't Nap!


Situation: You have a beautiful baby. You're 15 or so weeks in to your parenting career and all told, things are going well...well, except maybe for the sleep part which this baby now feels is "optional."

You are definitely not alone in your nap struggles. Especially with a 15 week old-baby. Naps are tough for many parents. First let’s look at your little guys age. During the 4th trimester babies circadian rhythms aren’t fully developed so until 4.5-6 months of age biologically speaking it’s tough to get a baby on a consistent nap routine. So I want you to take that pressure off, okay? Your little one is almost old enough to start creating more of a consistent nap routine but he’s not there yet. Now your two main goals are to keep him consistently fed and rested, however it is that you have to do that.

We are all born with the ability to sleep but the ability to fall back asleep is a skill we must learn. We had to learn it and our children have to learn it. Picture it like any new skill: walking, talking, riding a bike. The ability to self-soothing doesn’t begin to develop until 12 weeks of age. Babies need to practice this ability and even at his age you can start slowly working on those self-soothing skills but it will take time and you have to be patient. It’s never a race for a baby under 4 months old and you can’t take full control yet. Here are a few things you can start doing:

1. Don’t assume the nap is over when they wake after 30-40 minutes.

It’s not. Stop. Wait. And listen. Let them practice soothing themselves to sleep first before you go to them, at his age I wouldn’t wait any longer than 10 minutes. This is a small step in allowing him to practice the skill of falling back to sleep. If after 5 or 10 minutes he’s still crying you can go in and help him if need be. There are no rules at this age. If he’s just making noise and fussing try to leave him until he falls back to sleep.

Sleep Tip: Watch those awake times. Often we are pushing out our baby’s wakeful periods to long. We want to make sure we are watching their sleep cues and not putting them down overtired for the next nap or at bedtime. Wakeful periods may only be an hour long at 15 weeks.

2. Start working on a consistent sleep environment.

At his age you can start getting him used to his crib both for day and night sleep if that is a step you are ready to take. Keeping things consistent for both day and night sleep will help him feel more safe and secure in his sleep environment. The only way for him to get used to his crib is to have him in it so be patient with that. He’ll get there.

3.The darker the better.

Darkening up your child’s room with black out shades can help with the release of that awesome sleep hormone melatonin, which will aid in making your baby nice and drowsy. 

Sleep Tip: For a cheap and effective way to darken your child’s room RIGHT NOW, tape up some garbage bags. If you see that it works well then you can make the investment in new window coverings.

Also quiet is best. Introduce a white noise machine that runs continuously throughout his nap. This consistent sound will help lull him into a deep and restorative sleep. All sound machines must be turned at the lowest volume and placed farthest away from the crib.

4. Routine isn’t only for bedtime.

You can incorporate a short naptime routine before your baby’s nap. I always recommend giving yourself at least 30 minutes to have a nice, relaxed bedtime routine. Condense this routine for naps to about 10 minutes or so. For instance bring baby to the nursery, dim the lights, change their diaper, and sing a short lullaby. This can help cue baby that naptime is coming.

Remember at 15 weeks-old you have to be patient and not expect too much. Take the pressure off, Mama. You are doing a great job and your baby will be napping soon.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter.

RELATED: How To Turn Your Nightmare Nights Into Sweet Dreams


Why Bedtime Routines are Crucial for Children

And Why You May Need A Reminder Now

Why Bedtime Routines are Crucial for Children


A recent study was published and proved that practicing a consistent bedtime routine with children 0-5 years of age resulted in better over all sleep for the child. The study showed us that when children had a regular bedtime routine of at least 3 times a week, the child went to bed earlier, fell asleep easier and faster, had up to one more hour of sleep throughout the night with less frequent night wakings.

A consistent bedtime routine meant better sleep for all.

Mind blown?

Not really.

But I LOVE a study that proves my preaching!

We already know that when a consistent bedtime routine is instilled at a young age, chances are:

  1. Overall healthy sleep habits are being practiced as well, therefore the child is banking some great restorative sleep consistently.
  2. This consistent sleep means zero sleep debt so parents aren’t battling with an overtired child at bedtime or one throughout the night.
  3. Boundaries and bedtime behaviours are firmly established and a tiny toddler dictator isn’t running the bedtime show.
  4. Practicing a calming routine means a child’s attachment tank (via Andrea Nair) is being properly filled each night. This means the child doesn’t feel a need to seek your attention throughout the night when they should be sleeping AND this routine can actually improve behavior throughout the day.

So if we already know this then why do I feel a need to write about it? Well as we head into summer, days are getting longer, evenings are getting brighter, and bedtimes start creeping later and later. Suddenly our kids are up watching Jimmy Fallon’s Hashtags with us.


It’s important to keep your consistent bedtime routine intact, even during the busy summer months. Give yourself 30 minutes before your child’s bedtime to allow enough time to have a nice relaxed routine where your focus is to calm your child and get them ready for bed. Then try and leave the room before they fall asleep. This way when they wake up throughout the night they aren’t wondering where you are. It also may be a good idea to install some black out blinds to keep things nice and dark at bedtime. Avoid having to explain every single night why they have to go to bed before the sun does.

A typical bedtime routine can include:

  • Bath (doesn’t have to be every night.)
  • Story time
  • Diaper or potty
  • Brushing teeth
  • Bedtime song
  • Cuddles
  • Mad dash to the wine at the end of events

Good Night Tip! Using visual cues like my bedtime routine flashcards can help prepare your child for sleep while adding a little fun into the mix.

Listen, we don’t need a study showing us the importance of a bedtime routine. We get it. But even still, we may need a small reminder every now and then.

I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site.

Get some sleep yourself: Spring Clean Your Sleep Routine