If bedtime is a nightmare in your house, or if you just want a little change to your child’s bedtime routine, these fun and relaxing bedtime games can help you bring a little more fun to this often dreaded daily battle.
First, it is extremely helpful to have a consistent routine. These games and activities can be included in that routine, and done every night. This helps your child get to sleep more easily, because the familiar routine is comforting and predictable. Don’t include any games in your bedtime routine that will get your child wound up. The goals of these games are to help them wind down for the day.
Fun and Relaxing Bedtime Games
Finger Play. Use your fingers, or little puppets if you prefer, to create a little show for your child. Once your child is comfy in bed, use your fingers to have a little conversation by wiggling them around as if they are little people. Use different voices.
Here is an example;
Left Index Finger / Mom or Dad character: It’s time for bed sweet child.
Right Index Finger/ Child character: Aw, mom, not yet! I still want to play!
Re-enact something from the day, or make up something completely different. Tailor your stories to your child’s needs, making them silly and playful, or comforting and nurturing. Your child might want to participate with his own characters.
Word Games. For older children who can spell, play simple word and spelling games. Spell a word backwards and see if your child can figure it out, then let him spell one for you to figure out. Create your own fill-in-the-blank stories and let your child pick silly words to change the meaning of the story.
Around the World. Start with A and see how many places you can name that start with A. Use a different letter every night or a few letters at a time. Keep a list if you would like!
Good Night Teddy. As you put your child to bed, she can help you put her dolls and stuffed animals to bed also. Let her tuck them in, kiss them and snuggle them a little.
Drawing and Journaling. Keep a small sketchpad and some pencils or crayons near your child’s bed. Little ones can draw a picture about their day, or the sweet dreams they would like to have that night. Older children can draw comics or make their own little picture book, by creating one page every night. Journaling is an option, if they don’t enjoy drawing. Have them write about their daily experiences or hopes for the coming day. If they are too young to write, take notes for them. Let them try keeping a gratitude journal, by listing five things every night for which they are thankful.
Newscaster. Suggest that your child pretends he is a newscaster, and let him sit up in bed and give you a report of the news for the day. This can certainly be the silly news broadcast or the pet news broadcast. You can then give a report in your best newscasters voice.
Hokey Pokey. Let your kids hokey pokey themselves right into bed. To play, start the song and let your child try to get one limb at a time into bed!
Jokes. For the fun loving child, ending the day with a good joke will be a treat. Let him tell a joke or riddle, and then share a new one with him.
Guessing Games. Pick something in the room, and have your child try to guess what object you have picked. Give them clues to help.
Getting your children to bed doesn’t have to be a fight. It may take some effort, but by playing bedtime games, you can make bedtime into an event that your child will happily anticipate.
sarafina on October 02, 2011:
kiara on December 25, 2010:
i always play bedtime games with my junior baby sister to make her sleep
Kyna-D on October 26, 2010:
Really Great READ!!!!! I'm trying some of these ideas tonight....definietly! thanks again
katie on August 29, 2010:
hi im new so what do you write about
adorababy from Syracuse, NY on June 04, 2010:
You're actually boosting your child's brain development and foster parent-child bonding as well.
aida on May 23, 2010:
prateeksha on March 20, 2010:
i feel that bedtime games are the best idea to make the children sleep.along with funfilled activities and jokes.It gives children and even parents to get more knowledge and share their thoughts.i can just say that is a wonderful thing and i will surely use this technique.
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on February 25, 2010:
You are very welcome! Glad you and your child are enjoying the suggestion!
sugarystrawberrys on February 06, 2010:
I make a story up containiing a bit about our day and a made up bit for my child and she loves it!Thanks for the tip
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on October 09, 2009:
Thank you Sage! I love to find new ways to make our evenings more fun.
Sage Knowles on October 06, 2009:
i loved your journalling ideas for young kids...especially gratitude journalling....sometimes its hard to put feelings into words, but art and colors are a beautiful way to express as well
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on September 14, 2009:
Two-year-olds can be such a challenge at bedtime (my youngest is 2). I would suggest a regular bedtime routine with a fun (but not too exciting) story and a song with finger play (like the itsy-bitsy spider). With a toddler, you usually have to keep things simple and rather quiet so they don't get all worked up and want to keep playing.
csd1509 on September 13, 2009:
very good ideas but my girl is 2 you have more games for her age?
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on March 07, 2009:
Thanks London Girl! I like to focus on making it a fun experience too so that it is treat for us all rather than an argument. (We've had enough of that!)
LondonGirl from London on March 06, 2009:
couldn't agree more - a calming, reliable bedtime routine is crucial, I think.
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on October 09, 2008:
Thanks izettl! Keep it short and sweet at bedtime for as long as you can! :)
Lizett from The Great Northwest on October 07, 2008:
Great advice! I'll keep this in mind when my baby gets older and can appreciate the games. For now, we stick to a short and sweet bedtime routine.
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on August 13, 2008:
Hi Cailin, let me know how it goes!I love making up stories for my girls at bedtime. They love when I use their name (or something really close to it) for the main character. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Cailin Gallagher from New England on August 12, 2008:
Great hub! I'll try the drawing tonight. It'll make a nice change from the bed-time story. I have never thought of that. Also, I tell them stories like "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the Three Little Pigs before going to bed....say prayers and sing a couple of lullabies. Another option is telling a family made-up story...just any silly story.
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on June 17, 2008:
Thanks, Doghouse! I think consistency mixed with fun can really ease the pain of bedtime. Bedtime games can settle children into bed happily and help them to separate themselves from any events from the day that many be on their minds. It is good for parents too, to be able to look forward to the routine and not dread it!
In The Doghouse from California on June 16, 2008:
For children who are afraid of the dark, bedtime can be an extremely scary thing. Bedtime is also a time when children resist the most, they simply want to stay awake. These ideas for bedtime games are great! I think you hit it on the head when you spoke of consistency. That is the best parenting advice anyone could ever give. Consistency in bedtime activity can result in less stress for a parent in the long run, and a happier child as well.
mickey on April 30, 2008:
do you have anymore games avalbe i still am not aving luck with lease games thanks
amy jane (author) from Connecticut on March 05, 2008:
Thanks for reading and commenting, vijayanths!