How To Develop a Night Routine For Your Baby
Sleep is one of those things that, as a parent, you never quite get enough of. When you and your little one don’t get enough sleep, everything is more challenging. So the sooner you can start getting your child into good sleep habits, the better life will get for all of you.
Here’s what you need to know.
When To Start
When babies are first born, they don’t have a day and night schedule yet. It takes a while for them to settle into regular sleep habits. Once they do, it can be a good idea to start introducing a simple bedtime routine. Around 3 months is a good age. If your child is already older than this, don’t panic. It’s never too late to introduce a nighttime routine.
It’s a good idea to begin your nighttime routine around an hour before you expect your child to fall asleep.
Why Bother With A Night Time Routine
The routine is about introducing your baby to sleep cues. These are signals that indicate to your child that it’s time to go to sleep. Once you’ve repeated your routine enough times, the sleep cues will help get your baby into the right mood for sleep quickly. In the long run, this will make it much easier to put your baby to sleep as they grow.
It can also help if you travel with your kids. You can still do the steps of your sleep routine and help your baby settle even in an unfamiliar place.
What To Include
A bedtime routine aims to ease your baby to sleep, so you will want to try and include calming and comforting activities. To get you started, here’s an example bedtime routine.
A bath is usually a good part of a bedtime routine if only because as your child grows bigger, they’re probably going to need one more often. For some kids, bathtime can be fun and exciting, which is why it’s usually a good idea to put it near the beginning of your routine. It can help burn off some energy and get them more ready to start winding down.
You might want to have a few toys in the bath. Watching water falling through buckets or watering cans can be quite soothing for a lot of children. Just don’t forget a bath mat to prevent slips in the tub. Once your child has teeth, this is a good time to brush them as well.
When they’re all done, you can get them out, wrap them in a towel and have a lovely cuddle.
Clothing is a great way to signal what time it is. A fresh nappy and a set of clothes just for sleeping is a great way to indicate it’s time for sleep.
#3 Read A Story
Stories at bedtime are lovely. They can help calm your child, and the right ones can make them feel sleepy. It’s also a chance for some 1-1 bonding time. This is an essential part of bedtime because it helps kids actually look forward to it.
#4 Dim the Lights
A change in lighting is a good way to indicate it’s time to sleep. If you can dim the lights, that’s a great option. Otherwise, a nightlight can be useful. This lets you see well enough to finish soothing your child but doesn’t disturb their sleep.
#5 White Noise/Gentle Music
White noise for babies or lullabies can be a good part of a nighttime routine. If there are other noises around your home, like older kids playing. This can take the edge off.
#6 Kiss and A Cuddle
There’s nothing like having one last kiss and a cuddle before you leave your child to settle and sleep.
Ultimately it’s about what works for you. If your baby isn’t a fan of a bath, maybe just give them a quick wipe down instead, or move bath time to the morning. Perhaps you want to swap the story for having a quiet chat. What matters is that you have a routine.
Words Of Warning
Try and avoid having the same parent always do bedtime. Otherwise, they will become part of the routine, and no other adult will be able to put the baby down.
If you’re still doing evening feeds, try and do them at the very start of the routine. If your child associates a feed with sleeping, it can make it much harder for them to learn to fall asleep on their own when they wake in the night.
Once you’ve got your baby down, try and avoid popping back in to check on them. If you find yourself worrying about them, especially when you first move them to their own room, why not get a monitor. You can get an audio monitor to hear them or even breathing monitors. This can give you peace of mind without disturbing them.
Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase. Fade Away Sleep Sounds is happy to have Cristin as a guest blogger on our site.