3 Steps to a Short and Sweet Bedtime Routine

3 Steps to a Short and Sweet Bedtime Routine

Research shows that having a consistent bedtime routine helps with falling asleep faster, less night wakings and more sleep overall..  Don’t we all want that?

A bedtime routine is a sequence of activities that we do every night before bedtime.  Pick a few relaxing steps you are willing to do every night, and do these steps in the same order every night, in the room where your kiddo sleep.   

I encourage families to start a bedtime routine when baby is 6- 8 weeks old.  Your baby will learn to recognize this “sequence”, know that sleep comes at the end and it will become an important cue to help them be more ready for sleep.

Over the months and the years, your child’s bedtime routine will evolve and change, but you will want to continue to have this predictable time before bed.  Even adults have bedtime routines – think about what you do before you go to sleep – I bet you have your own rituals!

The bedtime routine is a time to relax, connect and wind down.  There are 3 components to a successful bedtime routine:

First: Prep

Prep first: Do the things you need to get done -diaper change, lotion, brush teeth, potty, pajamas.  If there’s something your kiddo dislikes, try to do it first so it’s out of the way and we can enjoy the rest of the routine. (we don’t want to get all snuggly and then have to stop to do something they dislike!).

Second: Connect and relax

Start to wind down.  Bedtime routine is NOT the time to tickle or have a pillow fight! We want to do relaxing things that your kiddo enjoys.  Here are some ideas: massage, lotion, snuggle, books, songs, quiet play, talk about your day, tell stories, yoga, say good night to objects, etc.  Pick things that your kiddo enjoys.   That means that if your child really is not into books right now, don’t do a book at bedtime. Try books at different times of the day, and pick something else for now at bedtime.

Third: Stay consistent

When the bedtime routine is over, it’s over!  Do not let your kiddo convince you to do 1 more song, story

Some additional tips:

When you first introduce the routine, read the same book every night (or sing the same song). Once the routine is established, you can start to rotate books/songs.  Another way to do it is to finish with the same song/book. For example, let’s say you read 3 short books at bedtime. You can change the first 2 and always read the same third/last book.

Be in the moment during the routine.  If you are stressing about all that you have to do After your child goes to bed, they will pick up on that and it will make it harder for them to relax and be ready to go to sleep.

Parents can have slightly different routine, and baby can adjust.  For example, one parent may sing a song, but the other can’t! J   What’s important is that each parent do their own routine the same way every time.  Over time, the bedtime routine will evolve, but you will continue to help your child wind down at bedtime for years to come!

Do the routine in the room where the child sleeps.

You don’t have to have a bath as part of your routine.

So there it is. When bedtime is coming, dim the light, slow down and enjoy!  And when it’s time to sleep, stay strong!

If you have any questions about your child’s sleep and would like more support, head over HERE to learn more about how we can work together. You can also join my free private Facebook group for sleep support.


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