Why Bedtime Routines are Important
One of the most important steps while sleep training baby is to create a bedtime routine and it’s never too early to start. It is particularly important to establish independent sleeping habits. However, there are multiple other benefits to establishing a bedtime routine too.
What is a Bedtime Routine?
A bedtime routine is a series of calming activities that happen in the same order each night before bed. A typical bedtime routine may include:
- A snack
- Diaper change or using the potty
- Having a bath
- Brushing teeth
- Choosing a pair of pajamas
- Getting tucked in
- Reading a book or singing a song
- A goodnight cuddle and kiss
A bedtime routine can have many benefits for your child’s health, development, and well-being. Here are some of the reasons why bedtime routines are important for babies and toddlers.
Bedtime Routines Set Expectations
Having a bedtime routine helps children know exactly what is expected of them and gives them a sense of security as to what will happen next. It helps them calm down after a particularly exciting day and starts preparing them for a good night’s sleep. Having a routine with the same steps followed each night creates a calming effect that allows that body to automatically start getting ready to sleep.
Knowing how your children will react to the routine every night is great for parents too. It helps you look forward to a peaceful evening secure in the knowledge that baby is fast asleep.
Bedtime Routines Improve Sleep Quality
While routines certainly help with the act of falling asleep, research shows that children who have a set bedtime routine have a better sleep quality than those who don’t. This helps their learning, memory, attention, and behavior and broad overall development in those early crucial years. Additionally, reading together before going to bed means time away from screens and stimulates creativity and language development.
In short, having a consistent bedtime routine means setting your child up for success.
Bedtime Routines Are Great for Bonding
Bedtime routines take away from the chaos of everyday life and give you some quality bonding time with your little one. Whether you involve your partner and other children and have a bedtime routine together or both parents take turns to oversee the bedtime routine, it gives you time to connect with each other.
There are a few more perks to having a set bedtime routine too. The good habits that you set can carry on through their lives even as adults. An established routine is also easy to explain to a babysitter which maintains structure and the feeling of security even when you are not at home. The routine also helps when you are travelling or need help beating jet lag.
How to Create a Bedtime Routine for Your Child
Creating a bedtime routine for your child is not difficult, but it does require some planning and consistency. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Choose a bedtime that suits your child’s age and needs. For example, most babies need about 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day, while toddlers need about 11 to 14 hours.
- Depending on whether bath time is part of the routine, start it about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. It’s a good idea to start your routine before your child starts showing signs of tiredness as overtired children can find it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid activities that are stimulating, exciting, or stressful, such as watching TV, playing video games, or doing homework before the routine starts.
- Do the activities in the same order every night. This will also reduce the chances of debates on what to do next as your baby turns into a toddler and then a preschooler.
- Be flexible within reason. For example, reading for five more minutes or an extra kiss and cuddle are reasonable requests. Multiple five minutes more are not.
- Adapt the bedtime routine as your child grows older and their needs change.
Remember, it might take some time for your child to get used to the routine and follow it without fussing or resisting. It may also take some trial and error to find a routine that works for you. Be patient and gentle with your child and yourself. Remember that the benefits of bedtime routines are worth the effort.
If you need help establishing a customized bedtime routine, then call me at 416-556-3217 or book your complimentary 15-minute enlightenment call with me today.