Rules and routines are essential in a child’s life. It gives them the structure and boundaries they need to feel secure. An especially crucial routine is the bedtime routine. This routine tells their brain and body that sleeping time is near. It tells them it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed.
Even adults have their own bedtime routines. You may not notice it anymore because it’s second nature to you, but you also follow a routine before going to bed. For example, change into your night clothes, brush your teeth, read a few pages of a novel, check emails one last time, and finally turn off the light. You probably do the same thing every night and never miss a step.
Even if you have a very young baby, you can start a bedtime routine that will help them distinguish daytime from nighttime. The same goes for children. All the steps in your bedtime routine tell them it’s time to sleep soon.
Here are a few suggested steps to a great bedtime routine:
1. Take a bath.
A nice bath is always an enjoyable and calming time for a child. Yes, they will play a little in the tub, but if you keep bath time short (around ten minutes), you won’t overstimulate her. It’s an effective first step because a bath is a very different activity from the rest of the day. It gives a significant cue that the day is winding down and that it’s time to do the same.
2. Change into pyjamas and brush their teeth.
Again, changing into night clothes or pyjamas is another vital cue for telling your baby or toddler it’s time to sleep. Similar to how we dress appropriately for any occasion, the right clothes indicate that it’s time to sleep as well. Of course, brushing teeth only applies to older babies and children.
3. Go into the bedroom and get ready for bed.
Next, proceed into your child’s bedroom, dim the lights, and set the stage for nighttime sleep. However, wait to turn off the lights completely. This step is vital for kids who still need nighttime feeding before bed. Whether it’s breast or bottle, you don’t want the child to fall asleep while feeding. Keep them awake and then put them in bed.
If your child is older, you can do a story or two and a goodnight kiss, and then it’s time to leave them in the room to fall asleep on their own. When starting the sleep training journey, it won’t always be as smooth as this sounds. Expect that there will be some crying and protesting, but soon you’ll begin to reap the benefits of having a consistent bedtime routine.
A consistent bedtime routine is a key to sleep training success. We can’t emphasize enough how important the bedtime routine is in getting a good night’s sleep. Even adults need a few minutes to wind down after a busy day, so you must help your child do the same. If you need more help creating the best bedtime routine for your child, consult a sleep consultant today.