One of the most important things you can do to help your baby sleep through the night is to establish a good bedtime routine. Think about when you go to bed… Could you go for a run, come home, and immediately fall asleep? Or how about falling asleep right after rolling around on the floor with your little ones, laughing and playing? I didn’t think so! But for some reason, we tend to think that babies can do just that. (Spoiler alert… they usually can’t).
If a baby is in the middle of playtime when you decide to put them to bed, the chances of them drifting off to sleep are pretty slim. Just like we need time to “wind down” at the end of the day, babies need time to calm down and get prepped for bedtime.
Creating a bedtime routine that you perform with your baby every night will help your baby relax and get in the right mindset to fall asleep. It is also a great way to let your baby know that it’s time for bed. A routine helps distinguish the difference between naps and nighttime, so they will learn what to expect, and start sleeping through the night.
There are many different things you can do for a bedtime routine. Here is what I do with my little monkeys:
1. Change diaper/go potty – There are nighttime diapers you can buy, but we just put our kids in a diaper one size bigger than their used to for bed. This helps to make sure they don’t pee through to their clothes.
2. Put on pajamas – Choose PJs that aren’t too baggy or too thick. Make sure it’s a light, breathable material.
3. Bottle (for the babe) – Eventually I’ll replace the bottle with a regular snack.
4. Brush Teeth – I brush them first, then give the kids a turn. Stay tuned for a post on teeth-brushing tips!
5. Read a book – Sometimes instead of reading a book, we tell made-up stories. Either way, this part is the most fun 🙂
6. Say a prayer – Obviously this is a personal choice, but we feel it’s a great way to end the day.
7. Sing a song – A soft, quiet song… Nothing that will rile them up.
8. Hugs/kisses – Sophie never lets me forget this step… she couldn’t go to bed without it!
9. Tuck into bed with blanket. Make sure the room is dark, quiet, and a comfortable temperature (we like to keep it pretty cool).
There are many things you could incorporate into a bedtime routine. Some other ideas include: a warm bath, rocking until sleepy, or giving a little baby massage (seriously. It’s a thing). Whatever helps your little ones relax and get in the zone 🙂