Setting up a bedtime routine for your little one is extremely important so that your baby can learn the structure and the time of day and fulfill them emotionally and physically.
Having a consistent bedtime pattern will bring much comfort to your baby and allow you to get your sleep too! While each baby’s needs are different, we’ve put together our top 5 tips to build and establish your child’s sleep routine.
1. Start slow
Your newborn baby who has just come home from the hospital doesn’t need a routine. They are not yet aware of their surroundings, so they won’t benefit from routines the same way as a six-week-old baby. Once your little one is in the age range of six to eight weeks, this is when you want to integrate a pattern to signal to them it is time to sleep. If you’re starting when your child is about two months old, the nighttime routine can be simple and limited. Start with reading a short story or singing a lullaby to your baby while cuddling them. You don’t need to complicate things, especially when you are just getting used to motherhood!
2. Be consistent
Once you start a routine, you’ll want to keep it up. A baby’s sleep routine will be how your little one understands the concept of time and when it is day versus night. The more consistently you put them to bed around the same time every night, the quicker they will fall asleep. A regular sleep cycle has benefits for both you and your sweet baby.
A nighttime routine is also proven to have positive effects on child development and familial bonding. Consistency teaches your child how to care for themselves as they get older regarding nutrition or hygiene. The time you spend with your child can even provide emotional comfort to them as they grow. Bedtime is no longer just to wind them down from the activities of the day, but to also spend some uninterrupted time with you, Mama!
Having a locked-in bedtime routine will also help when you are away on vacation, or when your baby goes through a sleep regression. With a familiar pattern, your child will feel less confused about where they are and get to bed more easily. While sleep regressions are bound to happen during your baby’s life, having a structured schedule for them to rely on can bring ease and comfort.
Another essential factor to consider for building your baby’s sleep routine is timing. The periods your little one sleeps will differ, especially in the first few months of their lives. These early stages are the time to observe their sleeping patterns, which CuboAi’s Smart Baby Monitor can best do, as it monitors baby’s sound and movements while automatically tracking their sleep activities for you to better understand their sleep pattern. Once you know your baby’s sleeping cues, it will make it easier for you to establish their bedtime routine and know when to put them down for bed.
3. Personalize the routine
As your child grows, you’ll quickly learn their likes and dislikes. And if you have more than one kid, you’ll learn how different siblings can be from each other. While consistency is vital in a nighttime routine, it’s normal if this routine changes as your baby grows. Maybe your baby initially loved listening to lullabies, but quickly got tired of your singing and now wants you to read that one book repeatedly. Your first kid might have loved spending most of their nighttime routine in the bath, splashing around; while your second child might prefer a cuddle session. It’s okay to change how you get them to bed and personalize this time of day to your child’s needs.
4. Prioritize naptime
While this article primarily provides advice for a healthy and structured nighttime routine, it’s important to note how influential naptime is for your little one. Often, a regular napping schedule will make putting your kid to bed much smoother without any hiccups. You want to make sure to put your little one down to nap at the same time every day, and let them nap for the same amount of time each day. On some days, your baby will be more exhausted than others, and an extended nap might be necessary. But for the most part, creating that timely nap routine will provide your child with an overwhelming sense of comfort.
With naptime, like bedtime, you’ll want to follow a structure. Even though your baby may fall asleep in their car seats or strollers at times, you still want them to get those z’s in the crib. You’ll want to keep the sleeping atmosphere the same every night: dimmed lights, closed curtains, with the white noise machine turned on. The purpose is to create a peaceful oasis that fits your baby’s needs at all times.
5. Cherish the moment
Because of how busy the days can get, it can be difficult to stop everything and have one-on-one time with your baby. Most of your time consists of preparing food, cleaning the house, doing laundry, or even working an entire 9-5 job simultaneously. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done when you’re a parent. However, with a structured bedtime routine, you’re also setting aside time to fully be present with your baby. It can be a beautiful moment to talk to your baby, letting them find comfort in your voice and the thought that you are beside them. Take in these moments, as you’ll soon learn just how fast your baby grows up. And as they age, things will change. They may no longer want lullabies or cuddles. So, soak up all of these precious moments while you can.
About the writer
Meghan Nelligan is a freelance writer and creative storyteller based in the United States. She is passionate about mental health, creative writing, and social media. She also manages an Instagram account and a portfolio site for her poetry where she shares weekly readings, personal writings, and favorite works. Check it out here: https://gempoetry.squarespace.com/
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