The Power of the Routine
I think it’s pretty easy to say that most of us know what a structured routine can do for a person’s mind, body, and soul. We all know how much better we feel when we have a routine and stick to it!
The same principle applies to your child’s sleep.
Younger children are often times given the pass on a routine because their parents have crazy schedules, or their older brother/sister’s soccer practice ran late again. Parents often feel like it’s a losing battle to try to get their youngest children on a nighttime routine, and that is just absolutely not the case!
You’re losing the battle when you attempt to put your 1.5 year old to bed and they do not want to stay in their bed. Or, they scream at the top of their lungs begging you to come back and rescue them from the dreaded sleep.
Routines make the world go ‘round, and let me tell you, they make the sleep world go even more ‘round (if that’s possible).
Starting at a very young age, typically around 6-8 weeks, infants can begin to start their bedtime routine. This is where you, parents, have to be consistent and remember the rewards coming at the end of the routine establishment!
Babies are not born with the realization that night and day exist – it was continuously night in their cozy womb for 9 months. Imagine that shock to their teeny bodies when they realize there is a glaring light for most of the day and complete darkness at night. Surprise: they don’t know what either of those means.
I think it’s safe to say that parents tend to fight the routines because it’s hard work, and it is. It’s fair to say that setting routines for your little ones to establish good sleep habits is not an easy task. But, trust me, it is so worth it.
Research shows that babies should be going to sleep between 6pm and 7pm every night.
When a child does not get enough sleep, deep and restful sleep becomes harder for them to come by at night time. This, in turn, turns into a battle to get your child to sleep through the night (that coveted 7+ hours of uninterrupted sleep you long for). It is pivotal that parents establish a nighttime routine and stick to bedtimes as closely as possible every night.
A sample routine that has worked for many families is as follows:
With lights on low and white noise sound machine on, get baby dressed for bed
Give baby a gentle massage with lotion to soothe them
Read a bedtime story in a low, calming tone
Sing a song in a calming tone while rocking gently
Put baby down in their crib sleepy but not asleep
Turn off all lights and leave the white noise machine on
As always, routines are tailored to what works for your family, but the general layout works for almost everyone.
The key to a good bedtime routine that promotes deep, restful sleep for your baby (and all through the night) is sticking to the routine! It’s one thing to have a routine and a completely different thing to stick to it!
Your baby can get there but understand it can take some hard work to actually get there! But oh the reward is so sweet.
You got this!
The Power of the Routine