Bedtime routines are so important to babies and young kids. Heck, even adults benefit from a bedtime routine. According to studies most babies will be receptive to a schedule around 6-8 weeks, but it’s never to early to start. A proper bedtime routine can aid in calming your little one and prepare him or her for a good night’s sleep.
We started Lucy off with a bedtime routine right away, around 4 weeks. Whether it be a bottle, bath time and story time or baby massage and nursing; it’s important to establish some sort of routine early on. A lot of people will go for the “eat, play, sleep” routine for the first several months. Others will do “play, eat, sleep” which works too, but just keep in mind as they get older, you want to avoid association between bottle and sleep. You can always tweak this routine as they grow older to adapt to your schedules and needs. Just do what works for your family. The most popular bedtime routine activities include a warm bath and/or a baby massage. Both are great ways to calm your baby’s nerves and senses and help soothe them to a sleepy state.
Lucy has always been a good sleeper (at night at least – her naps are non-existent, but we’ll get into that later), and I really believe that her bedtime routine is the reason. The few times we have messed it up or didn’t do it completely, she had a hard time falling asleep, and staying asleep. Even when my husband was telling me that our 4 week old wouldn’t understand the story I’m reading her, I continued to stick by the routine.
Our bed time routine looks somewhat like this:
5:30pm = Dinner with the family.
6:30pm = Bath time (most nights, not every night)/P.J. time and diaper change.
7:00pm = Bottle time/snack time.
7:15pm = Story time/prayers.
7:30pm = Kisses/Lights out.
I am a firm believer in bedtime routines. Whether you’re sleep training or not, it’s important to establish a routine your kid can appreciate and understand. It’s so nice knowing that Lucy calms herself down after bath time because she knows what is coming next; bed. No matter how energetic she is, she always seems to calm down when practicing the routine. People are always amazed at how easy and fast she goes down at night, but I give all the credit to our routine.
Even when we travel, I try to stick to the routine. There is debate on whether you should adapt to the time zone you’re in or not, but I usually do the “in between” method. My family lives in Minnesota/North Dakota, so when we’re visiting, I keep her up an extra hour. (There is a two hour time difference between us.) Use what works best for you and don’t try to push one way or another.
If you’re looking for some good stories to read before bedtime, check out my previous post, Story time Favorites for some good books or other fun alternatives. Lucy usually can’t handle longer stories at the end of the day, so we like to keep it short and simple. Just a short story, a quick prayer, and kisses goodnight.
What does your bed time routine look like and when did you start? What have you found to be the most effective in soothing your little ones to sleep? I love hearing from you! Like, comment and share!