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Tips for a Good Night: 10 Bedtime Alternatives to TV for Kids

We’ve all been there.

After a long day and hectic evening of managing busy schedules and taking care of children, sometimes the easiest thing to do before bedtime is just to let the kids veg out in front of the tv.

There’s no wonder why we do this: making the transition from a busy evening to bedtime is a struggle for many families, including my own. In times of “bedtime transition”— such as  the back to school season, or after a move— it’s tempting to let the television soothe children to sleep.

While we may know that this isn’t the ideal nighttime routine for kids, new research suggests that tv before bed may actually cause kids to sleep less than they otherwise would. In fact, the more tv the children in the study watched prior to bed, the less sleep they got.

Instead of compromising their sleep, consider these 10 bedtime alternatives to tv. Not only are they likely to improve the quality of your kids’ sleep, they provide them with critical one-on-one time to transition to another day.

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  • Draw Your Day 1 of 10
    Draw Your Day
    Coloring is a soothing activity for many kids, and a great way for them to unwind. Ask them to draw a picture of their favorite part of the day, or what they're most looking forward to tomorrow.
  • Bring the Day to an End with a Book 2 of 10
    Bring the Day to an End with a Book
    Reading together is the classic pre-bed ritual for many families. Many books have a good night theme, which is a great way to bring a long day to a close.
  • Story Telling 3 of 10
    Story Telling
    As an alternative to reading, ask your child to tell you a story. Let his imagination run wild!
  • Cuddle Up 4 of 10
    Cuddle Up
    Bedtime is the perfect time to cuddle up with your little one. It's a wonderful transition to sleep.
  • Make a Nest 5 of 10
    Make a Nest
    This is a favorite in our house. Let kids select their own blankets and pillows to make a comfortable "nest" on a sofa— or even the family room rug.
  • Practice Family Yoga 6 of 10
    Practice Family Yoga
    Children's yoga is more popular than ever, and it's a great calm-down activity for kids. This article lists several poses that help them transition from day to night.
  • Say Goodnight to Favorite Toys 7 of 10
    Say Goodnight to Favorite Toys
    Help your child tuck in her favorite dolls and toys, signaling the end of the day.
  • Work a Puzzle 8 of 10
    Work a Puzzle
    Working a puzzle is another wonderful quiet activity for children, either alone or in pairs.
  • Reflect on the Day 9 of 10
    Reflect on the Day
    One of the best ways to end a day is by having your child list his or her "highs and lows." Not only is it soothing, but it's a way to spark communication about what's going on in your child's world.
  • Talk about Tomorrow 10 of 10
    Talk about Tomorrow
    Remind your child how much there is to look forward to in the day ahead. What friends will he see at school? What would he like to have for dinner? Is anything coming up that he'd like to discuss? The possibilities are endless!

More by Mary Lauren

Sharing the Dream: 10 Children’s Books about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement

Navigating the Parent/Teacher Relationship: 10 Tips from Both Sides of the Classroom Door

7 Surprising Facts about Cold and Flu in Kids

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