The 5 Senses at Bedtime: Free Printable

by added on 20 October 2020, Comments Off on The 5 Senses at Bedtime: Free Printable , posted in Blog
By: Maggie Homer, Parent Educator

Reading fifteen books. Endlessly rocking. Hour long cuddle sessions. A million special stuffed animals. A different bedtime routine every night. Does any of this sound familiar?

Bedtime can be a battleground. Children strongly desire to stay awake and continue to play. Parents desperately want a moment alone or simply to go to sleep themselves. These dueling wants and needs can cause serious stress at bedtime, a time most parents want so badly to be relaxing and enjoyable.

Engaging your child’s five senses during the bedtime routine can be a huge help in preparing him mentally and physically for sleep. Did I mention it aids in the production of melatonin?

In the next five sections, reflect on how you are using each one of the senses in your child’s current bedtime routine.


How do you set the lighting in the bedroom to signal that it’s time for sleep? Dimming the lights, turning on a night light, or closing the blinds are all visual cues that signal to your child’s brain and body that it is getting close to bedtime.


What sound does your child hear as he prepares to sleep? A sound machine, a fan, some soft music or a lullaby are wonderful ways to calm and soothe your child. The sound you select should be soft, low and repetitive.


What smells do you incorporate in the bedtime routine? If your child takes a bath right before bedtime, then there is the smell of the body wash. Some families enjoy diffusing lavender essential oils in the child’s bedroom during the bedtime routine. Body lotions can provide a relaxing scent. Whatever you decide to incorporate into the routine, make sure it is one you can consistently do each night.


Does your child have a special lovey? Some children have a special stuffed animal or blanket they hold while they fall asleep. Cuddling, holding, and back rubs are other ways to add the sense of touch into the bedtime routine. What is the room temperature like? Children sleep best in a cool environment (~68 degrees Fahrenheit).


With infants, the taste before bedtime is usually breastmilk or formula. As your child ages, incorporating taste into the bedtime routine can be a little trickier. One simple idea is adding a bedtime snack or warm milk into the bedtime routine. Good bedtime snacks can be a fruit or a cheese slice, something small and healthy without refined sugar. Of course, after eating make sure to brush your child’s teeth (which is also a taste!).


Putting Them All Together

When you put together all five of the senses, you will discover a simple, relaxing bedtime routine. I encourage you to write this bedtime routine down (check out the free printable below!) so that you and your parenting partner are on the same page. Then, your child has a consistent bedtime routine no matter who puts them to bed, hopefully diminishing those dreaded bedtime battles so everyone can have some sweet, nighttime peace.

Oh, and this strategy works for adults too! Have you ever found that you pass out during your child’s bedtime routine but then can’t fall asleep at your own bedtime? I encourage you to think about how you can engage your five senses into your own bedtime routine. Check out the article Use Your 5 Senses to Set Yourself Up for Better Sleep for some inspiration.

Wishing you and your family lots of restful sleep!


Click on the image to download and print.


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