Bedtime routines are INCREDIBLY important for kids and even babies. A bedtime routine includes all the activities that you do before going to bed in order to prepare you for bed. The reason why a bedtime routine is so important is because each step of the routine signals that sleep is about to come.
My ten month old son has a bedtime routine that we follow every night, and shoot, I even have a bedtime routine that I follow.
A routine helps us prepare for bed, it sets the occasion for sleep behaviors, but if it is inconsistent it could influence our sleeping in a negative way.
Kids thrive on routines, so using a bedtime routine is a good first step when faced with sleep problems.
A bedtime routine can include any event that the child needs to complete (such as brushing teeth) and that prepares the child for bed. It’s important to avoid any events that could keep the child up longer, such as rough housing or using electronics. A bedtime routine should start with the most active activities (like putting on pajamas and washing up) and end with the least active activities (like listening to a story or a goodnight hug).
Does your child follow a bedtime routine? My son follows the same routine each night: change diaper, put on pajamas, drink a bottle of milk, blessings, and put him to bed. We do the exact same routine each night. Nothing changes. Regardless of who puts my baby to bed, the routine is the same.
My son doesn’t have any problems with falling asleep at night, and I’m certain that at least part of that has to do with the fact that we established this bedtime routine very early on. My son has learned that those specific activities in his bedtime routine ultimately lead to sleep. Those bedtime activities prepare him for bed. They signal to him that sleep is about to come. My boy thrives with his bedtime routine.
Do you want your child to be problem-free at bedtime? I’m sure you do! My first recommendation for you is to establish a GOOD & SUCCESSFUL bedtime routine. Here are some tips to do just that:
Each step in the routine signals that sleep is about to come. If we don’t follow the same schedule each night, those signals may not be as effective or clear for our little one. Keep it consistent.
Doing it this way better prepares your child for bed. The last thing you want to do is speed up your child’s brain right before putting him to bed. Putting on pajamas and washing up in the bathroom should be done at the beginning of the routine. Listening to a story, getting a goodnight kiss, and getting tucked in should be at the end of the routine.
If you have a light dimmer, turn down the lights during the bedtime routine. If you don’t have a light dimmer, use a lamp instead of the bright overhead lights. Turning the lights down low also signals to the body that sleep is about to come.
Don’t forget about electronic light, which activates the brain. Electronic light should NOT be a part of the bedtime routine. In other words, avoid TV, electronic games, iPads, etc.
If your child frequently requests for snacks or a drink after he is put to bed, it’s okay to build that into the bedtime routine. However, it’s important to keep the snack small; a full stomach will actually keep the child up longer. When giving a drink, stick with water instead of sugary drinks, and limit the amount that they drink (so they aren’t up 50 times throughout the night using the bathroom).
Create a visual schedule that your child can follow to complete the bedtime routine each night. Including specific times of the routine and pictures of each activity will help your child complete the routine independently.
Like we already talked about, end the bedtime routine with a calming activity like reading a book or having cuddle time. This calming activity will help prepare the child for sleep.
If you child doesn’t have a bedtime routine, now is the time to get one established. If your child already has a bedtime routine, check to see that the routine will help signal to your child that sleep is about to come. Modify the routine if it doesn’t follow the recommendations I’ve outlined for you.