One of the tasks that parents must carry out is helping their little ones to sleep soundly. For that reason, they strive to create a relaxing bedtime routine with their children.
We can define bedtime routines as a predictable sequence of events that we constantly follow in the same order every night. In the case of babies, they facilitate the transition from wakefulness to sleep, helping them feel more secure, calm, and comfortable as they prepare for bed.
Additionally, sleep routines also lead to a better night's sleep. Experts recommend that parents implement an early bedtime routine during the first year of life, preferably after four months, since babies usually sleep most of the time at night at that age.
Do you want help to develop your children's routine? Here are some tips that can help make the process easier.
Define activities that anticipate bedtime.
If you want to help your children create a bedtime routine, it is recommended that you initiate activities that show the kids that sleep is coming. Some of them are baths, book readings, or the bottle/breast.
Some parents have also found that giving a light massage or playing soft music in the background helps their children sleep better. If you want to find out what works for you and your little one, try different activities and tricks. You will find the answer through trial and error.
Create a calm and relaxing environment.
As with adults, children also need a quiet and peaceful space to sleep. For that reason, when developing the bedtime routine, you must make sure that your baby has a firm mattressin his crib and that the room temperature is comfortable.
Regarding lighting, specialists say that the room should not be dark if your children feel safer with a night light on. In these cases, you need to make sure they have one. The more comfortable and secure they feel, the faster they will adjust to the sleep routine.
Babies and most children are often very active and have a hard time relaxing for bedtime. So, the best you can do is start shifting gears at least half an hour before going to bed.
That means you should limit any physical activity or play to help your kids focus on more soft activities like listening to a relaxing story or music. You should also turn off the television or other distracting electronics.
Do not forget the food.
Babies naturally sleep longer and better when they are full. That's why it is advisable to give them a bottle or feed them before putting them to bed when you try to develop a sleeping routine.
If your children are older, you can give them a light snack that includes protein and carbohydrates. Some good options are half a slice of whole wheat bread with a small piece of cheese. Protein will help keep their blood sugar level steady until breakfast, preventing them from waking up hungry in their sleep, and carbohydrates make them sleepy.
Remember to brush your children's teeth after eating!
Be consistent when it comes to bedtime.
That is not very difficult to understand: your children will have a more difficult time napping or sleeping through the night if you constantly change their sleep hours. You must make sure that your kids comply with the schedule, apart from special occasions such as holidays or birthdays, and follow the daily routine.
By creating healthy sleep habits, both you and your child can enjoy many benefits, including the fact that both of you can get a better night's rest!
Do's and Don'ts when creating a bedtime routine.
There are many ways to create a bedtime routine with children, and none are wrong! While some children like to listen to a bedtime story, others talk about their day or say their prayers before going to bed.
Any routine that makes your kids sleep easily and overnight is working fine! However, there are some things that we must do and others that we must avoid. Let's get to know them below.
Do's at bedtime.
- Keep the routine short: Whether you're reading a book or talking to your child, try to keep the bedtime routine short. The ideal time is between 10 and 15 minutes.
- Include dental hygiene: Proper dental hygiene is one of the habits that experts recommend including in children's nighttime routine at bedtime. That applies whether you are cleaning your baby's gums or reminding your older child to brush and floss.
- Make it apt for their age: Keep in mind that bedtime routines change over time. Babies or newborns usually fall asleep after breastfeeding or taking a bottle of formula. However, older children prefer stories or brushing their teeth on their own.
- Let your children participate in creating the routine: From time to time, you can ask your children to choose their favorite pajamas before going to bed or the book they want to read. You can also ask them what time they would like to go to sleep to make the routine suit their preferences. It will be easier for them if they enjoy and agree with the process!
Dont's at bedtime.
- Don't assume your children will outgrow their bad sleeping habits on their own: Unfortunately, babies with sleep problems continue to sleep poorly even as school-age children. Do not stand idly by and help them. They need you!
- Don't create poor sleep associations: Rubbing your child's back or leaving the TV on can be bad ideas. When kids get used to these things, they will likely need you if they wake up later.
- Don't give your kids caffeine before bed: In addition to coffee, products like flavored ice cream, soda, tea, and chocolates can have caffeine. As we all know, it can greatly affect sleep, so it must be avoided at all costs.
Developing a bedtime routine with children takes time and dedication, but its advantages are innumerable. All family members can benefit from children's sleep routines!