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Bedtime Routines

All about naps and nap transitions

Top Tips for setting up a bedtime routine

Today I’m looking at Bedtime Routines – how to put together a sleep-conducive routine that will help your baby understand it’s time to wind down and get ready to drift off to sleep. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all for baby sleep routines – if there were then the midwife would tell you about it in the hospital and there would be no need for sleep consultants.  Instead, you have to work with your family set up, your home and your individual child to come up with the perfect routine for you. But I can give you some tips as to things that could be included in your bedtime routine, and things that should definitely not feature in the time before bedtime, so you can design a bedtime that works for all of you.

As before, you can watch this as a video, read the subtitles with the sound off, or listen to the sound with the screen off – whatever works for you. Alternatively, you can just read the information below

Top Tips for Bedtime Routines

The first tip is to get rid of any screens around your baby before bed. We want to make sure there are no screens, no tablets, no phones, about an hour or so before bedtime, because the blue light that they produce inhibits the baby’s release of melatonin. So we want to try and get rid of them if possible.

Dim the lighting if you can too, as this will also assist melatonin production, because melatonin only produces in dim light and about an hour to two hours before bedtime and it produces around the same time every night.

Set up a bedtime routine that works for your family. The routine doesn’t have to be the same for all families, so I’m not saying what it must be, but whatever you do, do it the same way every night. No screens, dim the lights. Then have some kind of routine, so that the baby or child knows what’s coming.

If you think about adults, we have our own bedtime routines. When we go to bed, we’ll go brush our teeth and get into our pyjamas, usually in the same order every day. We may read a few pages of a book, whatever it might be – we all have our own little rituals before we go to sleep. And it’s no different for a child or a baby. But they can’t do it themselves, so we implement it for them. It’s a really nice way for you to connect with your baby as well.

Try to keep the routine simple – avoid going into every single room in the house. We want it really, really simple and structured. So have your bath pre-ran before you head off, if possible, it’s going to make everything a lot easier. Have everything laid out, nappies, pyjamas, the book or books that you’re going to read, and so on.

Once you’re ready to start then everything should be really slick. So, you go straight upstairs to the bathroom. If you’re having a bath, give them a quick bath or a sponge bath, whatever it might be. It doesn’t have to be a quick bath. If bath time is a really fun time, go for it, and then get their teeth brushed. And that’s your bathroom stuff done. Unless they are a little bit older, and you need them to do a last wee before bed.

Bedtime routines

So then you move straight on to the bedroom that they’re sleeping in – we want to have it really nice and calm and structured. So, they’re going into the bedroom that they’re sleeping in, if you can lower the lighting down as well. That’s always great. Maybe a quick massage if you can – if you have a wriggler get them dried, a quick massage, get them dressed and put the sleeping bag on if they’re in a sleeping bag still and maybe read them a story.

Here’s one of my favourite tips with bedtime stories because I hear this so often – people say “I can’t read stories because my baby is always grabbing at the books”

So one of my top tips is to let them brush their teeth while you are reading the story. There’s a little teething toothbrush you can get – there’s so many different types. The one I’ve always used is Brush Baby. It’s got a nice little handle. It’s got bristles on both sides, so put a tiny smear of toothpaste on each side and let them just chew on the toothbrush. If they don’t have teeth, you don’t need to put the toothpaste on it. If they have, it’s just quite a nice way to make sure they’re brushing their teeth before they go to bed. Similarly, what it’s also doing is stopping them from grabbing the books so you can actually read that book nice and calm.

Then turn the lights out, pop them into their cot, and then you can add into the routine whatever you want to add – a song, a nursery rhyme – and you could add some chat time in there for an older child if you wanted to.

Bedtime routines

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Whatever you do, have a set routine, so they are aware of what is coming. And it’s going to make life a lot easier, especially when they start to push back, when they get a little bit older because they know what’s coming and that makes them feel safe and that makes them feel secure in their boundaries.

I hope you found this helpful. I will be publishing top tips on this blog regularly – if you would like to be informed about each new post as it comes, please fill in the form below, or come and join us in our Facebook group Baby2Sleep Village. There are some more bedtime tips that my followers have shared on this post Bedtime Tips

I’d love to hear your feedback – you can leave a comment here or in the Facebook group – what bedtime routines work best for your baby?


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