Why is having bedtime routines important?
We all have daily routines. We go through the motions each day. We get up at the same time, we get the kids ready, take them to school and then head off to work or to do whatever we have planned for the day. Routines are an important part of our lives. They should be important for our kids as well, especially when it comes to sleep.
Regular schedules and routines help us get the sleep we need and gives us the ability to function. Routines are part of establishing and maintaining good sleeping habits. It helps babies and children fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up well rested and refreshed. Routines set the body up for sleep and signals to the body that the time has come for sleep.
Having some solid bedtime routines can also help prevent future sleep problems. They set up expectations and help train behaviors. This is especially true for toddlers who may have taken control of bedtime. Having routines and good sleeping habits takes the stress out of bedtime for both moms and children. Babies and children love routine and they love predictability; they love to know what’s coming next and will be more relaxed. The more relaxed your child is, the more likely they’ll go to bed easily and fall asleep quickly. This doesn’t matter the age of the child, it applies to babies, toddler and older children. The structure of bedtime routines can help them feel good about themselves and provides a sense of security and control.
It’s also a great time for parents to spend some one on one time with their kids. With older kids, you can take the time to talk about how their day went and to just reconnect with the each them each night.
When should I introduce a bedtime routine?
You can start implementing a bedtime routine at any point. There’s no age recommendation to start and no age limit. Bedtime routines don’t have to be complicated and long. My son’s bedtime routine was a bottle, bath, lotion, pj’s, a story, a cuddle, a song and then into bed awake. Some nights it would take longer and some nights, it was extra short because he was tired and not interested in any of it. Keep in mind that if you know your baby is going to be tired at 6:30 pm, give yourself plenty of time to complete that bedtime routine. During the routine, if you find that baby isn’t having it and is crying or fussy, then just cut it short and put baby down to sleep. He’s obviously not enjoying it and he’s probably just tired and done for the day.
So take a look at your bedtime and your bedtime routine. Does it need some tweaking? Or is it perfect for your family? Sometimes a little trial and error is needed to find what will work for your family. Happy sleep!