A nice and consistent bedtime routine is a vital part of a successful Sleep time. It cues the child that the time so sleep is getting close and if you create a nice and enjoyable routine your little ones will start looking forward for their bed time. Be careful to not make your bedtime routine too short or too long, aim for 15 to 30 minutes, and again, be consistent. If you need some help creating the ideal Bedtime routine for your family, here are some steps that may help:
- Give children a nice bath, or if you don’t bathe everyday, let him splash in the bathtub for a few minutes. A quick body massage is always nice, especially for babies. Afterwards, put jammies on.
- After the bath go to the children’s room (or where he/she is expected to sleep) and spend about 10 minutes doing something that your children enjoy doing with you, making sure it is not to stimulating (Read a book, sing songs, talk about your day).
- Feed your baby if he/she still takes one last bottle (making sure baby doesn’t fall asleep while feeding) and after that do some other activity for a few minutes so the baby doesn’t connect his feed to the crib. If you have older kids you can ignore this step.
- Give the child a goodnight kiss and put him/her down to the crib drowsy but awake if a baby, if you have older kids go to the next step.
- Say your goodnight, and leave the room.
That is a great bedtime routine example and you can adapt it to any age. You can add or change steps to make it fit with your family style. Just make it consistent and clear for the children that at bedtime she is going to bed.
Bedtime is time to have some quality family time with your children before the day ends, most of us work all day and don’t have much time with our kids during the week, so make sure that during the routine your kids have ALL your attention. Not checking your texts or Facebook, enjoy this moment! Cuddle your little one, talk about this day, read your favorite books!
And no letting your kids watch TV at least 30 minutes before bedtime (the longer the better!), specially on iPads and phones because the blue light that they emit disrupt everyone’s sleep (yes, including yours, so if you check your phone before bed and it takes you 45 minutes to fall asleep, this may me the reason).
Another important tip is that with toddlers and older children you don’t leave room for negotiation: one more book, one more song, one more minute… After you say it is sleep time, it IS sleep time! It may sound silly, but you are the boss here and your kids feel actually safer to know that you are in charge.
If you negotiate once or twice, soon your kids will think that they are in charge and they will start playing games and bedtime routine will be instead of a nice family moment, a dreadful one.
Bedtime routine helps to strengthen your bond with your children and turn bed time into a pleasure activities for both of you, a nice and calm family time that everyone looks forward to.
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