Examples of Bedtime Rules and Routines for Kids and Teens

Prevent Behavior Problems at Bedtime by Creating Rules and Routines

Create a bedtime routine for your child.
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The mere mention of bedtime can start a battle between kids and parents all around the globe. And without clear bedtime rules and consequences, bedtime wars can get worse.

Arguments and behavior problems often delay bedtime, which can lead to sleep deprivation in kids. And a lack of sleep can contribute to academic problems and increased behavior problems.

Create a written bedtime checklist for each child that outlines the rules and your expectations. A healthy routine can reduce behavior problems and promote better sleeping habits. 

Sample List of Bedtime Rules for Preschoolers

Preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours of sleep per day, including naps. So it's a good idea to start winding down for bed early in the evening. 

Since most preschoolers don't read yet, create a bedtime checklist for preschoolers made with pictures. Hang a chart on the wall that outlines your child's bedtime routine. Here's a sample list of bedtime rules you might consider:

  1. No TV after 6:00.
  2. Bath time begins at 6:30.
  3. After bath, it’s time to brush your teeth and put on your pajamas.
  4. When you’re all ready for bed, it’s time for story time in bed.
  5. At 7 p.m. the lights go off.
  6. Stay in your own bed all night. You can earn sticker for your sticker chart for staying in bed after the lights are turned off.

Sample List of Bedtime Rules for Grade School Kids

Grade school kids need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night. So it's important to adjust bedtime accordingly. Here are some ideas for bedtime rules for a child in this age group:

  1. No TV or electronics after 6:30 p.m.
  2. At 7:30 p.m, brush your teeth and put your pajamas on.
  3. Once you’re in bed, we can read stories until 8 p.m.
  4. On weekends and school vacations, you can stay up an extra 30 minutes.
  5. Stay in bed until 6:30 a.m. each morning.

Sample List of Bedtime Rules for Tweens

Tweens also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night. If your tween is having difficulty getting up in the morning, it's a sign you may need to make bedtime a little earlier. Here's a sample list of bedtime rules for tweens:

  1. All electronics need to be turned off by 8 p.m. Leave your laptop and cell phone on the dining room table each night.
  2. Start getting ready for bed at 8:30 p.m. You can read until 9 p.m.
  3. Lights out at 9 p.m.
  4. You may stay up until 9:30 p.m. on weekends and school vacations.
  5. Set your own alarm each night and you’ll be given one warning to get yourself out of bed for school.
  6. If you need more than one warning to get out of bed, your bedtime that night will be 30 minutes earlier.

Sample List of Bedtime Rules for Teens

Teenagers need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Most teens prefer to stay up late and early school start times can be a problem. These bedtime rules, however, can help your teen establish healthy habits that will promote the best sleep:

  1. All electronics need to be shut off by 8:30 p.m. All electronics will be left on the kitchen table each night.
  2. Be in your room by 9:30 p.m.
  3. You can set your own bedtime as long as you are able to get yourself up and out of bed on your own in time for school.
  4. On non-school days you need to be up by 9 a.m.

Create Your Own List of Rules

Establish your bedtime checklist on your child's age and specific needs. Adjust the rules as your child grows and matures.

Bedtime behavior problems will likely come and go as your child enters new developmental phases. But with consistent discipline and clear limits, you can help your child develop lifelong healthy sleep habits.