It’s tough to get excited about a routine.
The word itself has pretty much become synonymous with boredom, predictability and banality, and for good reason. Falling into a rut is one of the major fears people have when they get married and have kids.
I agree. Nobody wants to get caught in that humdrum, repetitive life when nothing comes as a surprise anymore.
But trust me, trust me, when I tell you that bedtime routines are the exception to the rule.
Sure, they’re predictable; they’re supposed to be, but they’re also a load of fun. Baths, songs, stories, fuzzy pajama cuddles with your little angel are destined to be some of your most cherished memories of motherhood.
With parents who are having trouble getting their kids to sleep, of course, it’s the part that comes afterwards that’s such a horror show.
So just before we get into the “how” of the perfect bedtime routine, let me give you a quick rundown of the “why.”
Have you ever noticed how great it feels to slip into a freshly made bed, teeth brushed, face washed, pajamas straight out of the dryer? To me, the mere thought of it just puts me at ease. The thought of getting out of bed and getting into the shower, putting on clean clothes and doing my hair and makeup, not so much.
Our minds and our bodies associate those activities with sleep, and when we go through the motions of getting ready for bed, they start doing the same thing. Muscles start to relax, the brain starts to downshift, and the pineal gland starts pumping out some delicious melatonin. It’s the physiological equivalent of putting on PJs and brushing teeth.
So a bedtime routine signals your little one’s brain that it’s time for sleep, and since their brain is pretty much the authority on whether or not they’re going to be sleeping, it’s best to get the old fellow in the mood.
So how do you do that? Well, lemme tell you…
Forgive me if I sound like a broken record here, but I just want to reiterate one last time, once you’ve got a routine in place, make sure you keep it in place, come hell or high water. I’ve seen a lot of parents who have a “routine” that they implement three or four nights a week. That’s not a routine, it’s just “the norm,” and your little one’s system never really gets time to adjust to it.
I know it sounds boring and mundane, and maybe you’re a little conflicted about an hour of your daily life becoming so predictable, but believe me, the alternative isn’t excitement and adventure. It’s misery. Sleepless nights and cranky kids will wreak havoc on your family unit, so embrace the repetition. It’s a blessing in disguise, I assure you.
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