A Routine Can Be So Helpful In Getting Better Sleep

For those of you who have read previous blogs of mine, you’ll know that I’m all about consistency when it comes to helping our wee ones sleep better!

Babies and toddlers thrive on routine, which is especially true when it comes to sleep. So getting a good bedtime routine in place and established can help set the foundations for a better night’s sleep.

When Should We Start The Bedtime Routine?

You should look at starting the wind-down to bedtime at least an hour before you want your little one to be asleep. The first part of getting your little one ready for bed is just slowing the pace down a little – move more slowly, talk more quietly and make sure that lights are dim and curtains closed. An ideal sleep environment helps get your little one to start to relax, and their body will begin to prepare for sleep. Screens should be turned off in this hour (and preferably the hour before that). The blue light that screens emit inhibits melatonin production, the hormone that signals to the body that it’s time to go to sleep.

Is a Bath Essential Every Night?

Many families include a bath every night as part of their routine, and it can be a great way of helping your little one relax and a good signifier for them that it’s coming up for sleep time. If it doesn’t work for your family, don’t worry about it, though – there’s no need to include a bath every night. It may be that time is too tight to include a bath – there’s no need to make a tired, cranky toddler have a bath just because you feel it should be there as part of the routine. Equally, some little ones find bath times exciting and fun and can end up overstimulated, which is not what you want just as you’re trying to get them into bed! There’s no problem in having a bath at a different time of the day, which fits in better with your family’s routine- be guided by your circumstances and what works best for you and not what you see everyone else doing.

Consistency Will Pay Off

Once you’ve come up with the steps in your bedtime routine, then you should stick with these steps in the same order every night. There’s no right or wrong way to put your routine together, but it should last roughly 30 – 45 minutes each night. Bedtime stories and songs are always a lovely way to end the routine just before your child gets into their cot or bed. Be firm with the number of stories each night (two is usually a good number) to avoid the “just one more” situation! If you stick with the same steps in your routine every night, then it will help your little one wind down and get ready for sleep – they will love the predictability and knowing what comes next, and this will all help them to get into a relaxed and peaceful mood, all ready for a good sleep! Don’t be tempted to make your bedtime routine too long – be mindful of how tired your little one will be at bedtime, and make sure you won’t be keeping them up too long with too many different steps in the routine.

Involve Your Little One

For slightly older toddlers and young children, it’s a great idea to get them involved in coming up with the routine themselves (guided by you, of course!) If they feel that they’re in charge of putting the routine together, they’re more likely to want to follow it come bedtime! A visual chart of the different steps and ticks or stickers achieved for each step can also really help a child who has been reluctant to go to bed previously.

If you need some help with putting together a suitable bedtime routine, I’m always happy to help, so please drop me a message if you have any questions.