The bedtime routine might just be the most underrated tool when it comes to getting your baby sleeping through the night.
A well-crafted, well-timed, consistent approach to bedtime acts a cueing system to our bodies and brains that signals it’s time to sleep, which stimulates the release of melatonin, the precious sleep-inducing hormone!
Check out the video below for some valuable tips on how to construct the optimal bedtime routine for your little one.Rather read than watch? Click here.
You know, sometimes we talk about a routine and we think, oh, what’s the big deal? We can skip it, we don’t have to. It won’t help, it won’t hurt, it does nothing. But the truth is that a bedtime routine is really really important because what it does is act as a queuing system to your body and brain that sleep time is near. In fact, if you think about it you also have a bedtime routine and you probably do it in the same order every single night and you very rarely skip a step. And every step that you take is leading you up to that final place, which is your bed.
And all this little prep work that you’re doing is sending messages. It’s getting your body ready to go to sleep for the night. I don’t know anyone who just throws off their clothes and dives into bed without any kind of prep work. And these, you know, it’s more than just hygiene. It’s about creating a space for you to start transitioning from your day into the night. And so it’s so important that we start doing this with our children as well. And I believe that you can start a bedtime routine right from day one with your little one and that will really help this little human separate day from night and start making that connection, that nighttime sleep is where we consolidate out and we start sleeping longer and longer stretches.
So what are the steps of a great bedtime routine? Well, I love to start it with a bath. And I don’t think you need to worry that your child’s not relaxing in the bathtub. I don’t know a single child who relaxes in the bathtub. It’s not the same as you taking a bedtime bath where you’re lighting candles and listening to music. this is playtime, they enjoy it. They wanna splash around and have some fun and that is perfectly fine.
And I also find that it’s so, it’s such a significantly different event especially in the young phase when they’re not doing a whole lot, right? Just like one minute’s blending into the other. A bath is a great transition because it’s so different than anything else that’s happening in the day that it is a great cue that now bedtime is approaching. So give it about 10 minutes. If you let it drag on too long, then yes your child might get a little overstimulated and it might be harder to calm her down after the fact.
So bath is step one, into the jammies. You know, if we’ve got an older child we’ve gotta fit in teeth brushing here somewhere. Feeding in the routine is important for our younger babies under the age of about one it would make sense that there’s still a bedtime feed. So going into the child’s bedroom, setting the stage, lowering the lights, but not turning them off completely. Our goal here is not to get this person to fall asleep on the feed. We want to keep them awake through that feed.
So if it’s breast or bottle you’re keeping an eye on them, you’re tickling them talking to them, singing to them, whatever you have to do to keep them with you through the feed and awake. Because the first step to great sleep habits is learning how to fall asleep independently. I’m gonna talk about that in our next blog. But if you want more information about, okay what do I do after that? She didn’t fall asleep on the feed, now what? Then check out the Sleep Sense Program because it is a step by step walk you through the whole process from start to finish guide that will help you teach your baby how to sleep independently.
Thanks for watching, sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 107,000 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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