Establishing a bedtime routine is very important to develop good sleep habits in babies and toddlers. Knowing what to include as part of the bedtime routine can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some ideas to help you create a consistent fifteen minute bedtime routine to help your baby or toddler develop great sleeping habits.
Read a story. Bedtime is a great time to get in some reading with your baby or toddler. Choose one or a few specific books to read every night as part of the bedtime routine. “Goodnight Moon” is a classic favorite.
“Prepare” the bedroom. Take your baby or toddler around his or her bedroom each night and prepare it for bedtime. Take any toys or blankets out of the crib, close the blind or curtains, and turn on the night light.
Lotion up. During the bedtime routine is a great time to put lotion on your baby’s skin. Nighttime lotions, that have special calming scents, are available, but any baby lotion will work.
Sing some songs. Special bedtime songs help to signal to your baby or toddler that it’s time to go to sleep. Choose several songs to sing to your baby each night as part of her bedtime routine. The songs don’t have to be lullabies; just make sure you pick something you like since you’ll be singing it every night!
Turn off the lights. Most babies enjoy turning lights off and can learn to use light switches at a very young age. Have your baby turn his light off each night and possibly even some other lights in the house as you head to the bedroom.
Say goodnight. Give your baby a chance to say goodnight to everyone in the house: daddy, brothers and sisters, even the dog. Also, take a look in the mirror before bed so your baby can say goodnight to himself too! This is an essential part of any bedtime routine.
Personal hygiene. You may choose to include your baby’s nightly hygiene as part of his bedtime routine. Taking a bath and brushing teeth can be great additions to a bedtime routine.
Warm milk. Warm milk is a great way to signal to your baby that bedtime is near. Just make sure your child is never put in the crib with milk and that you brush his teeth after drinking it. If included, milk should be one of the first parts of a bedtime routine.
The above components will get you started creating your own bedtime routine for your baby or toddler. Find what activities and what order works best for you and your child. Bedtime routines are important for establishing all important sleep habits and will make your life as a parent a little bit easier.