Babies and young children are creatures of habit, so they enjoy the predictability of a ritual. Performing the same simple tasks before bed each night helps signal that everything is safe and sound, and that it's time to go to sleep.
Here are our top guidelines for an easy bedtime routine.
- Consistency is everything. Once you start a bedtime routine and do it regularly, they will come to expect it. Try to limit them to 30mins or less so they are manageable for all involved.
- Keep it simple. Keep your bedtime routine basic so it can be followed even when you are away from home. You can include a warm bath, a bedtime story, being tucked in and a kiss goodnight.
- Bedtime reminders. Toddlers may benefit from a couple of reminders that bedtime is approaching; springing it on them suddenly will only make them more reluctant to give up playing.
- Turn out the lights. This helps your child distinguish the difference between day and night. If he wakes up and it’s dark, then it’s still ‘night time’.
- Be flexible. If your child is sick and wants an extra story you can bend the rules a little – just try not to break the routine entirely. Bedtime is a special time for both of you, so enjoy the bonding and snuggle time!
- Avoid making it a punishment. Try to keep your bedtime routine sacred, so avoid taking it away as a punishment.
Enjoy every bedtime: while it can be challenging at times, it’s certainly a precious bonding experience!