Creating a Bedtime Routine: Part 1
Many parents feel confused about bedtime routines. Why are they important? Do they have to include a bath? What should a bedtime routine include? In this 3-part blog series I will help you understand, create and implement your own bedtime routine.
Why is a bedtime routine important to teaching your baby to sleep?
Creating a bedtime routine is one of the first and MOST IMPORTANT steps you can take to establish consistent night time sleep and smoother bedtimes for you baby. Think for a moment about how you spend the time before you get into bed.
Do you always brush your teeth and wash your face?
And do you know that next you put on your pajamas?
Do you have warm tea every night or read some of you current book?
Even if we aren't aware of it, most of us have some sort of routine that wraps up our day and signals our brain that we are headed to sleep. And if you don't have a routine already - make one! A pre-bed routine is just as important for adults as for children and babies.
A bedtime routine that includes some gentle talking, singing, and cuddling in the same predictable place and way reassures your child.
By doing something loving together you are saying that what comes next is good, and safe and even to be welcomed. And doing the same way every time let's your child know what to expect.
I especially encourage parents of children 6 months and older to include a phrase or short dialogue about the day's activity and what to expect tomorrow. For example: "Today we went to story time at the library. And tomorrow we can sit together and read books". KEEP IT SHORT, but acknowledging that you will be together tomorrow creates a connection between the day and sleep, sleep and tomorrow.
Lastly, a bedtime routine is delightful. It's a time to connect with your baby at the end of the day. Giving each other a last wonderful dose of attention before sleep brings you closer and reassures both of you of your bond before bed.