Imagine you roll out of bed in the morning stumble to find the most appropriate outfit in your closet before heading out the door to work. You drag yourself to your car unaware if you are prepared or even ready to begin your long day. Day after day you will feel as though you are stuck in a fog, trying to rebound from your unstructured, lack thereof, morning routine. Now, visualize the same feeling when your children are not set in a solid nightly routine. The chaotic moments leading up bedtime, and more times than not, overstimulating and wiring your child, before they leap into bed. Many parents have some type of bedtime routine, a shower, read a chapter from your latest book, brush your teeth and head off to bed. We usually are creatures of habits, our children desire this same approach and establishing a set routine in the evenings is beneficial for the entire family.
Establish a bath or shower each night to introduce that calming aspect for your children. I always get asked is a bath required every night as sometimes we just run out of time. The simple answer is no, but many children start to learn the connection between getting their bath and then beginning their bedtime routine.
Anything after bath time is considered a part of the bedtime routine.
Setting a decent bedtime for your child goes hand in hand with an efficient bedtime routine, make a realistic time to begin your bath and bedtime each night.
Set a time limit on your bedtime schedule, many times 15-20 minutes is more than enough time to have quality time and wind down for your child’s bedtime.
If feeding or nursing is a part of the routine this should be completed at the beginning and never the last part of the bedtime routine.
Example of a bedtime routine could be pajamas on, feeding, sing a song, read a book and say a prayer with your child.
Electronics and stimulating toys should be cut off at least 30 minutes before bath and preferably one hour before entering bath time.
If you are running short on time some nights, implement a mini- bedtime routine 5-10 minutes being sure you have a relaxing moment and incorporate one of their favorite parts of the bedtime routine into the mini- routine, before placing your child in their crib or bed.
It is never too late to start implementing a bedtime routine, no matter what age your baby or child is, starting this habit can only lead to more peaceful bedtimes.
I am an advocate of a good solid bedtime routine; my five-year-old son still ask each night to read a book before going to bed. This was established from the time he was a baby and is extremely valuable for young children. Many times once you have your routine down pat you will see that evenings become more calm and tranquil, which helps little ones especially in the evenings. Remember the key is consistency when it comes to a new schedule or routine, and you will be well on your way to more enjoyable evenings.