Are you thinking, “it’s a bedtime routine, lady! How hard can it be?” I hear you, girl, but let me tell you, there is more to it than meets the eye. As a certified sleep consultant, I have seen my fair share of sleep troubles triggered by a not-so-hot bedtime routine!
Bedtime routines play an important role in raising a healthy, independent sleeper! Children learn everything from repetition. By consistently practicing nap and bedtime routine’s your baby will come to understand what is expected next - sleep. This leaves your little one feeling more relaxed and confident, making it easier for them to fall asleep.
What makes up a bedtime routine successful? The 3’s!
You don’t want to your little one to become overtired while you’re going through the steps of your routine! When we become overtired our bodies produce sleep-fighting hormones that make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep! That’s right, a late bedtime at the hands of a too long routine can cause your baby to wake overnight! If your baby starts to snooze mid-routine or becomes irritable, you will want to cut your routine short(er) and place them in their crib for some z’s.
It is important that bedtime routines are consistent! To ensure that all caregivers can practice your baby’s bedtime routine you’ll want to keep it simple! Grandma, a babysitter, or other care provider may not be able to pull off an infant massage, essential oil blends, or other more complicated steps. Work with your partner to determine a simple bedtime routine that you can both commit to practicing every single night!
Your bedtime routine should be soothing! This sounds obvious, right? The thing is, your bedtime routine should just be soothing. It should not be a means to sleep. (It’s the 3 S’s of a successful bedtime routine. There is no 4th S for sleep!) The purpose of a bedtime routine is to calm your child and set the tone for sleep, not put your child to sleep. In order to be an independent sleeper your baby must go into their crib wide awake!
About the author: Ashley Rizzo is owner and Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at Well Rested Baby. After having her first set of twins sleep became a passion. She experienced how building healthy sleep habits made the everyday possible – and more fun – and knew immediately that she had to share the gift of sleep with other families. Certified by the Family Sleep Institute, Ashley strives to help families to experience the positivity, calm, and predictability that comes from having a well rested family, just as hers has. You can find her on Instagram here.