If there’s something all parents can relate to, it’s sleep (or the lack of!)
Each parent has different tried and tested methods of getting their little ones to drift off at bedtime. Each child is different, and different things work for everyone - something which is important to remember when parenting on little sleep!
So, if you’re reading this in the midst of a sleep regression, we hope some of the tips and advice we give will help you and your family to enjoy a blissful bedtime.
1. Begin with a bath
Running a nice warm bubble bath acts as a good signal that it’s time to start calming down, not only that, but the warm water should have a soothing effect on your little one.
If you’re looking for ways to change the time you start getting ready for bedtime gradually, bath time is a great place to start – keep them in for slightly longer, or run it slightly earlier or later.
2. Pyjamas and Teeth
Fresh out of the bath, get them cosy in their sleepsuits or pyjamas, followed by brushing their teeth to help keep their pearly whites protected! This is also a great signal that it’s time to wind down for bed.
3. Steer clear of screens
Turn off any TVs and put phones or tablets away in good time ahead of starting your child’s bedtime routine. The bright lights and noises can mean little minds are stimulated for longer, which can be a barrier to ensuring a smooth bedtime happens.
4. Read books
Snuggle up on the sofa or in bed and read some soothing stories together. The sound of your voice reading may even send them off to sleep. Alternatively, your little one might prefer you to sing calming songs or lullabies to help them drift off – just ensure you’re keeping things quiet and tranquil.
5. Keep timings consistent
A good night-time routine shouldn’t be adding to your already heavy workload as parents. For this reason, try to build it into your day – keeping timings tight and only letting the whole process last a set amount of time. It might take some time for your little one to get used to the routine but try to stick with it – consistency is often key!
The set of repetitive and consistent actions you put into place creates a bedtime routine that provides children the time to settle bodies and minds after busy days, ready to wind down for a restful night’s sleep.
Not only do bedtime routines benefit children. Setting them up for a solid night’s rest, but this also lays the foundations to give you, as parents the time you need to recharge.
As we mentioned previously, no two children are the same, and as a result, no two methods will work the same way. If you find something that doesn’t fit with your family or lifestyle, change things slightly to discover what it is that isn’t working. More information and NHS guidance about baby’s sleep, and how much sleep a child should have, can be found here.
This might mean trying things in a different order or at other times. The age and developmental phase children are at will have a huge impact on their sleep, as they’ll be going through various physical and psychological changes throughout their early years. This may mean that your bedtime routine will change regularly, to suit your little one.