Besides nursing my baby before she goes to bed, is there any other type of routine that we should do each night?
The number one common denominator for parents with good sleepers is having good bedtime and naptime routines.
Our little ones – babies and children – thrive on having consistent routines. They feel safer and more secure when they know what is coming next, and consistent routines are like cue cards letting them know. Babies learn very quickly what it means when their diaper is changed and they go into their sleep slacks, the white noise is turned on and the lights are turned down.
All children, from newborns on up to school-age kids, need a set of comforting and predictable rituals to help them prepare physically and psychologically for sleep. Pick calm, quiet activities, like reading, storytelling, or lullabies; bedtime is not the time for tickling, wrestling, scary stories, or TV shows, or anything else that’s stimulating. And apart from baths and tooth-brushing, the bedtime routine should take place in the child’s nursery or bedroom.
Here are some activities that work well as part of a bedtime routine, depending on a child’s age. Three from this list is plenty:
- put on pajamas
- brush teeth
- go potty
- read books
- sing a short song
- play a quiet game
- tell a story
- listen to music
- baby or toddler yoga
- bottle or nursing
- prayers, blessings, or sending kisses and love to others
- plenty of hugs and kisses
You’ll want to pick routines that fit your personality.
For instance, if you love singing, lullabies might be a good fit for you. Whatever you choose, spend the time focused on your little one. You’re preparing them to be separated from you for the night so keep the tone calm and reassuring.