One of the things I love to have in my life is structure. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it comforts me. Well, the same goes for children. While there will be days where the unexpected happens causing our routines to be interrupted, having a consistent routine is beneficial for both the child and the adult.
Why is a bedtime routine important?
An established bedtime routine helps children wind down and mentally prepares them for bedtime. When they know what to expect, it soothes them. The result is a better nights rest which leads to your child waking up happy and ready to take on the day. And when your child is in a good mood, the day goes better for everyone!
When should you start?
While many articles out there suggest starting a bedtime routine around 6-8 weeks, I have to say that I disagree. I truly believe it is never too soon or too late to establish a routine. I started a bedtime routine with both of my sons as soon as I was able to give them a bath (once their umbilical cord fell off). I would bathe them, feed them a bottle, sing to them and then put them to sleep. Now at such a young age, they would still wake up for feedings overnight, but I can tell you from experience that they slept their longest stretch after their bedtime routine. And as they got older and started to sleep longer having a bedtime routine in place made it easier to sleep train them.
As with most habits, the earlier you start, the better. However, that does not mean that it’s too late to implement a routine if your child is no longer a baby. Keep in mind that children adapt and while some may take longer than others; they will eventually get there.
Don’t get discouraged if you don't see immediate results, keep trying and don't give up!
What are some of the different types of bedtime routines?
- Bath time & brush teeth
- Last bottle feeding/cup of milk
- Sing a song
- Pray together
- Baby massage
When choosing a bedtime routine, I recommend keeping it short and simple. Be sure to perform the routine at the same time every day; consistency is key! My oldest son who is about to be four years old still has the same bedtime routine he’s had since he was a baby. I can’t emphasize enough how smooth the bedtime process has been since then.
So if you don’t have an established bedtime routine with your little one yet, I encourage you to choose one and implement it! I am convinced both you and your child will be happier. And remember, it’s never too late!
Do you have a bedtime routine established for your little ones? I would love to hear from you in the comments below!
If you would like to see my bedtime routine with the boys, be sure to watch my “Bedtime Routine – Baby & Toddler Approved” video below.
Until next time.