When Katie was born I found that introducing a simple bedtime helped her sleep better and this is the case whether you have a six-month-old baby that wakes up regularly throughout the night, or a toddler that fights sleep every evening. Introducing a bedtime routine helped Katie realise that it was time for bed.
I found that introducing a set of simple activities every night, at the same time, helped Katie associate them with preparing for sleep. For newborns and babies up to 12 months, these routines are soothing and help them to drift off. For toddlers, they can also help to overcome a number of sleep-related issues, such as night terrors and tantrums.
Simple activities to slow down the pace
Every baby or toddler is different, so you might find you need to alter some elements of your child’s bedtime routine. Here are some activities that I used with my daughter:
• Giving them a bath
• Brushing their teeth
• Getting them into their pyjamas (and putting on a fresh nappy, pull-ups or pants)
• Tucking them into their sleeping sack
• Letting them cuddle up with their favourite toy (or their comfort blanket)
• Reading them a bedtime story
• Dimming the lights
• Putting on their night light or a baby mobile
• Kissing them goodnight
• Pulling the door to, and looking in on them every five minutes until they are asleep (although once you do this I found it was difficult to not keep checking on Katie)!
Getting your little one into a bedtime routine
I found that the only way to get my daughter into a bedtime routine was to start doing the same activities each night, at the same time. After a while Katie picked it up. She resisted aspects of the routine some nights and tried to postpone going to bed, but I persisted and carried on with the routine, which is so important. My advice to you is to be strong and not let bad habits slip in – for example, cuddling your baby while they fall asleep, or letting your toddler have the TV on until they drift off – if you do this, your child might start to depend on these things to get to sleep.
It is also essential to ensure that, once you have introduced a bedtime routine, you do not rush it. Some nights when I was tired I tried to put Katie straight to bed without a bath or bedtime story, but this was a mistake as it broke our routine and as a result she wouldn’t go to sleep.
Our Slumbersac sleeping bags for babies and toddlers are widely used by parents, like myself, as part of a good bedtime routine. Our soft bamboo cotton and muslin sacks come in a range of styles, and our sacks for toddlers even have feet, so that your little one can toddle around safely when they wake up!