A routine is defined by a succession of actions repeated over time.
The pre-sleep routine is what we do every night before going to bed. It prepares the body for sleep, thus bridging the gap between the day’s activities and sleep.
Around the age of 2-3, using pictograms to do the pre-sleep routine allows the child to get involved, to know what comes next in his day and to prepare for it. Giving some control, predictability and choice helps children fall asleep and reduces bedtime resistance.
For the routine to properly prepare for bedtime, research recognizes three criteria. To remember them, we use the acronym 3S:
Every night: the same activities performed in the same order. For example: pee, brushing their teeth, cuddling, story, kiss, sleep… re-cuddling and re-sleep. Be careful, announce the end clearly. To avoid getting into negotiations, the broken record technique works well, i.e., repeat the same instruction more and more firmly, to mean that it is the end.
15 to 20 minutes maximum. Yes, not everything you do on the way home from work until bedtime has to be accounted for, and certainly not to the minute to stress you out.
This means that it can be done at home or elsewhere by anyone close to the child: dad, mom, grandparents, etc.