Children thrive in predictability and consistency. A bedtime routine offers a positive and familiar sequence of events to comfort and calm your little one. A predictable, short bedtime routine (under 30mins) should start to relax your bub and signal that bedtime is nearing.
Is your bedtime routine helping sleep? Or making things worse?
A recent research study found children who were offered a predictable bedtime routine fall asleep faster, had less problematic sleep, slept longer and improved maternal mood. (Mindell, Telofski, Kurtz, 2009. “A nightly bedtime routine: Impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood).
WHEN TO START A BEDTIME ROUTINE?
There is no perfect answer to this question. Each family is different. The earlier you start a simple bedtime routine the better. Try to offer a simple bedtime routine by 6-12 weeks. Inconsistent bedtime habits could be the reason for bedtime battles.
If the bedtime routine is stressful I would stop, get baby to bed. Retry introducing the bedtime routine next week - ideally 20-30mins earlier than when you just tried. A stressful routine can signal everyone is just too over tired already.
WHAT DOES A BEDTIME ROUTINE INVOLVE?
Keep it simple and enjoyable for you all. It is about relaxing your child and preparing them for sleep. Make it too long and stimulating and you will likely see an overtired and harder to settle child.
You will have all heard about the 3 B’s; Bath, Book, Bed. Using these 3 simple elements means you don't over complicated it.
Ensure you stick to your boundaries – one book, one song and a short bath. Toddlers are famous for stalling bedtime with demands and defiance!
Do’s and Don’ts...
· Keep it short.
· Keep it low stimulation.
· Time it right.
· Try not to feed to sleep.
· Read a book, sing a lullaby but don’t get caught up in demands for more!
· Be repetitive, predictable and boring... it will help soothe and calm them quicker!
A bedtime routine alone is unlikely to fix all your sleep issues. There are so many factors to consider when it comes to baby sleep. A bedtime routine is a great place to start. If you need more help or advice then don’t hesitate to contact us to Enhance your Sleep soon.
Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.