Children are all about routine, and bedtime is one of the most important routines of all. Keep it simple, keep it relatively short and keep it exactly the same every single night and you’re on your way to creating the perfect environment for plenty of zzz’s.
Top Tips for a Battle-Busting Bedtime
- Start preparing an hour before you start the routine by shutting off the TV and indulging in some quality wind-down play.
- The actual bedtime process should be no more than 40mins, about half that in infants – you want to make bedtime cues clear and easy to predict so a long bedtime can cause confusion.
- Choose your own steps, but make them consistent every single night – the same steps in the same order. This is all about giving your child familiar cues – no surprises. A bath followed by teeth, PJs, book and song are pretty standard. The only waiver is the bath: if you don’t want to bath every night (or at all as part of the routine), you don’t have to, but keep all other cues the same.
- Stick to roughly the same bedtime every night – bring it forward if you risk going over their Wake Window or they’re seeming tired, but only by maximum of an hour to avoid messing with their body clock.
- If you’re away, do exactly the same steps as you would at home – those sleep cues are so important for little ones and the routine will help keep them settled. Take their bath toys and bedtime books to help.
- You can start a routine of sorts from around 2 weeks – nothing militant, just to give your baby the idea of a routine with a feed, a warm bath and into PJs around the time that you’d like them to go to bed – anytime between 7-10pm in those first weeks. Don’t have any expectation that they’ll go down for the night at this point – new babies are notoriously enthusiastic night owls. After a few months you’ll find that bedtime will naturally come to rest between 6 and 7pm.
Struggling to cope with nightly bedtime battles? Need some help? Book a free fifteen minute sleep evaluation with me now and make the first, powerful steps towards everyone getting a good night’s sleep.