Bedtime routines- Tips and tricks to help your little one settle down.

What are the benefits of a bedtime routine?

If your baby knows what is coming next, then he/she will feel more relaxed. A more relaxed baby will be easier to put to bed and will fall asleep quicker. Sticking to a bedtime routine, even when you are away from home will make it easier for your baby to settle in unfamiliar surroundings.

The younger your child is when you establish a bedtime routine, the better. If you can establish a bedtime routine with your baby from 6-8 weeks and start following that routine every night, then your baby will quickly adjust to the consistency and predictability. This will make sleep training easier.

A bedtime routine also benefits parents, having set time dedicated to spend with your baby/child will help you bond as they grow, most parents find that their older children will use this time to discuss worries or things that on their mind.

How can I establish a good bedtime routine?

Start early, giving yourself plenty of time to get through the routine before bedtime. The routine can start anywhere but ultimately ends with your child in their bed. It is important for your child to know that his/her bedroom is a nice, safe, and comfortable place to be and not just somewhere he/she is banished to.

What does a bedtime routine consist of?

There are several things you could include in your routine. It can be as long as you like but it should be as consistent as possible. Here are some ideas:

A ‘Mad-hour’- Sometimes it helps for your child to let off some steam before settling down for the night. You could let siblings chase each other around, you could dance around to your child’s favorite songs, do some jumping or piggyback rides, literally anything to tire him/her out. Be sure to follow your crazy play with something calm and quite like a bath or a story.

Give him/her a bath- One of the most popular elements of a bedtime routine is a bath. A nice warm bath can be relaxing for us all and getting your child out of the bath, wrapping them in a warm towel, getting them dry and into their pajamas is a great way to ease them into bedtime. If your baby doesn’t like baths or gets excited in the bath then you should probably leave this part out, the aim at this point is to keep them calm and relaxed, children don’t need bathing every night.

Brush his/her teeth- It’s a good idea to get your child into a routine of brushing their teeth from as young as possible, so they are in the habit of doing it as they get older. You could start with wiping your babies’ gums at bedtime.

A quiet calm activity- Completing a short activity is a great way to spend some time with your baby before bed. This could be a game of peekaboo, some drawing, sorting, a puzzle or even going around with your child saying goodnight and putting their toys ‘to bed’.

Reading a story- Not only will reading help your child to recognize new words and develop their language skills it will also help them relax ready to go to sleep.

Singing a song- The age-old method of singing a lullaby to help your child drift off. Babies love hearing their parents voice, and the gentle, soothing sound of a lullaby may calm him/her.