Perceived Barriers and Facilitators for Bedtime Routines in Families with Young Children

George Kitsaras* (Corresponding Author), Michaela Goodwin, Michael P Kelly, Iain A. Pretty, Julia Allan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives; Bedtime routines are a highly recurrent family activity with important health, social and behavioural implications. This study examined perceived barriers to, and facilitators of, formulating, establishing and maintaining optimal bedtime routines in families with young children. Design; Participants completed a semi-structured interview based on the Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF). Analysis followed a deductive approach. Participants; A total of parents participated in the study. Most participants (N=30) were females, were white (N=25) and stay at home parents (N=12). Results; Key barriers included lack of appropriate knowledge and sources of information, problematic skills development, social influences, cognitive overload and lack of motivation for change. Facilitators included social role, access to resources, positive intentions, beliefs about consequences and reinforcement. In particular, optimal bedtime routines were less likely to be enacted when parents were tired/fatigued and there was a strong effect of habit, with suboptimal routines maintained over time due to past experiences and a lack of awareness about the importance of a good bedtime routine. Conclusions; Several theory-based, and potentially modifiable, determinants of optimal bedtime routines were identified in this study, providing important information for future interventions. Several of the key determinants identified were transient (tiredness) and/or non-conscious (habit), suggesting that future interventions may
need to be deployed in real time, and should extend beyond conventional techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: The research team would like to thank all the participating families in this study. This study was part-fulfilment of a PhD in Dental Public Health at the University of Manchester.
Funding information: Part of this study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) in the United Kingdom. Grant reference number: MR/T002980/1


  • behavior change
  • child
  • sleep
  • parental
  • qualitative


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