Establishing a good bedtime routine is a very important step in teaching your child to sleep well.

Babies and children love routines! Whether it’s throughout the day or at bedtime, they like to know what is going to happen next. They are also better behaved when things follow a known pattern. “Routines provide your child with a sense of security, and enables them to have a sense of control in a world governed by adult demands.” -Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D.

A bedtime routine is a cueing system for the body and the brain. Adults and children alike. It’s a series of events that tell our bodies that it’s time to shift gears into our nighttime sleep! Think about your own routine… We all have one, and it’s the same every night. Get into PJ’s, wash your face, brush your teeth…and finally crawl into bed. Right before falling asleep, you roll to your comfortable position in preparation to drift off for the night. With infants and younger toddlers, since these steps require a parent’s help, it’s important to be very clear and consistent. If random playtime or loose ends are allowed here and there before bed, the child will most definitely test the waters. Possibly opening the doors to unnecessary bedtime battles! If there’s even the slightest chance that protesting bedtime will result in 1 more TV show, getting out of bed or even having one of his favorite people lay down with him…you bet little Ben will give it a shot!

Now an example of a good routine would be:

6:30- Bath
6:40- PJ’s
6:43- Bottle/breastfeed (For babies 3-12mths)
6:55- Brush teeth, read a book
7:00- In bed

20-30 mins is a good length. If a routine drags on for much longer it just sort of blends into the day’s events and isn’t as effective. Keep it the exact same every night, step by step. Consistency = predictably. Not only for the child but the parents as well!

Having some of the routine in the bedroom is also very helpful. They learn to enjoy the 1 on 1 time happening in there every night, and it sets the stage that it’s time for bed.

Have both parents taking turns doing this so that baby understands that this isn’t just mommy’s job. No matter who puts them to bed, the expectation to sleep is still the same.

*** Any type of screen time should not be part of a routine at all as it interferes with melatonin production. It can also be a stimuli for nightmares later on as well***

?Have a great weekend!?