The Top Ten Bedtime Strategies

When school's in session, you know a good night's sleep is more important than ever — but try telling that to your kids! We asked real moms to share their best get-'em-to-bed-and-get-'em-to-stay-there strategies. Some of our favorites:


Routine, routine, routine! Every night our kids wash up, put on their PJs, pick out their clothes for the next day and then get a story, in that order. They know what to expect, and children really seem to love that.


Our three-year-old son likes to take a sippy cup of water to bed with him. If he gets up, then we take away his water. He responds to "choices and consequences."


We always read together for 30 minutes before bed. Now that the kids are older, they read to me most of the time.


Every night, my daughter and I sing "Blue Skies" together — I've been singing it to her since she was a baby!


My daughter is allowed to stay up and look through a book or play with her stuffed animals, but she has to stay in bed. Usually she's out like a light within a minute or two.


The TV and computer get turned off at 10pm for my teenager, and she's expected to get herself to bed. If she can't stay on task, then turn-off time gets moved to 9pm to give her more time to accomplish the task.


One thing that seems to work better than anything else is telling my daughter that we'll be in shortly to check on her. It relaxes her enough that she's asleep within a few minutes. Never underestimate the power of mommy and daddy being there!


We stagger the kids' bedtimes so each one goes upstairs by herself and has 15 to 20 minutes to settle in before the next one goes up. The key for us has been giving them that window of time alone — that way they're not feeding off each other's energy and bouncing around like they would if they'd gone up together.


You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make her drink: My daughter tried to stay up late once and only once, and after that she realized how tired she was and how important sleep is!


Well… (evil grin) every night I ask my husband if he would rather clean up the kitchen or put the kids to bed. No contest there! Then while he puts them to bed, I turn on the radio and rock around the kitchen cleaning up.

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