A good bedtime routine can mean the difference between a restful night for the whole family or a lack of sleep. And it can be pretty simple to establish.
Start by determining the time your children should be going to bed and then stick with it. Varying when the kids hit the pillow, even on weekends, will mean the bed routine will never get a chance to get on track. Keeping the same time, every day, will help the kids internalize when it is bedtime and thus help them go to sleep easier.
Once the time is established, set a few tasks to accomplish before hand. Pick up any toys, head to the bathroom for some teeth brushing and a bath, put on the pajamas have a story and turn off the lights. Doing these things every night will make the practices familiar and comfortable for the children, helping them wind down. By establishing such routine, they know it is time for bed, which should lead less of a hassle of actually going to sleep. (By adding tasks like bathing and teeth brushing to the mix, you are also promoting healthy habits.)
Once in bed, don’t give in to demands. For younger kids and babies let them cry it out if necessary. If an older child keeps coming out of his room, be firm and instruct him back and let him know it is bedtime. Eventually, they’ll know such efforts are futile.
Following through on all of this should help make bedtime an ingrained ritual resulting in the intended purpose – sleep.