Thursday, July 13, 2017

Establishing A Bedtime Routine for Children is Essential

Ever since Scarlett turned 6 months old, she's been on a schedule that has made life so much easier.  

I feel that having a consistent bedtime routine nightly allows children to feel secure and comfortable about what they can expect at the end of the day.  To create a bedtime routine that works for your toddler, piece together a predictable sequence of event that you can consistently follow in the same order every night.  
Scarlett ready for bed after her bath! 

Scarlett eats dinner at 5:00 PM and right afterwards she has a bath.  I bathe her daily as it relaxes her and she enjoys playing with her tub toys.  Once she gets out and gets dressed, she's free to play until bed.  We may watch a quick half hour episode of one of her shows or play with toys.  At around 7:00 PM she has a cup of milk and my husband and I read her some books.  Bedtime is between 7:30-7:45 and we are strict on that.  I'm very lucky that bedtime is not a problem with Scarlett at all.  She enjoys sleeping and never fights it! 

Make sure that you set specific times for everything and stick to them.  Your child's body clock will adjust much more quickly to the routine if it follows a natural and consistent pattern.

If you have a new baby or are looking to establish a bedtime routine for your little one, here are some helpful tips:

Get dressed for bed: Choose comfortable, non-binding pajamas that are neither too warm nor too light.

Read a favorite story to your child: This is a particularly comforting routine especially if it's a favorite story that's associated with bedtime, such as Goodnight Moon.

Play soft music while you read: You can choose from classical or jazz, depending on your child's preference.  It's okay to let the music play as the child drifts off.

Make sure your child has a friend to sleep with: A favorite doll or teddy bear provides comfort.  Or, if you're like Scarlett you like sleeping with random objects such as a cup or a toy car!

Limit or eliminate bottles: If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, make sure it contains only water. Milk, formula, or juice can pool around teeth causing cavities.  

Keep last "goodnights" brief: Make sure you say goodnight when it's time for you to truly leave the room and try not to come back if your child calls for you.  This sounds harsh, but if you keep coming back after your child calls for you, they will learn that they can "condition" their parents quickly.  Any hesitation on our part may be picked up by your child as an indication that you aren't serious about bedtime.  

These tips will help ensure bedtime be a smooth and easy process for you nightly.  All you have to do is enjoy the rest of the night with your spouse! 

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