One of the greatest gifts you can set up for yourself, is a solid bedtime routine.
This is something you can start when your baby is brand new, or already terrorising your adult quiet time.
It is so important that we adults get to have some ‘grown-up time’ after your little ones go to bed. This time is for maintaining your relationship, having conversations without being interrupted, being able to switch off and relax, or that sanity saving glass of wine … Actually, maybe its not the wine that is saving your sanity, it’s just having the space to drink it peacefully.
So, that solid bedtime routine. You want to be putting your little ones down at the same time each day.
Another important factor is having a series of relaxing events that you repeat right before bedtime everyday. The whole routine should last half an hour or forty-five minutes. This means that from the moment they get in the bath, their minds are gearing towards bedtime. Have you ever tried to go straight from work or the gym to bed? It’s not ideal. Our minds need time to gear down.
Some popular activities are:
- Having a bath.
- Brushing teeth.
- Listening to calm music.
- Reading some books together.
- Talking quietly about your day.
Find a set of activities that work for you, grab some textas and put them up on the wall so everyone at home knows the drill.
It is essential that at least for the first week you are really consistent with your routine, especially if you are already having troubles! Once your little monsters know the ritual, it is possible to deviate a bit from the timetable, but beware, inconsistency from you will be mirrored by them. So try not to disrupt their idea of how the world works too often.
A few things that will get you in to trouble down the track:
- Putting your baby to bed already asleep.
- Having things that assist your baby to get to sleep once in bed. Things like patting, feeding, music playing, cuddles in bed. Basically anything you don’t intend to provide each time they wake throughout the night. Which is anywhere from once every forty-five minutes to every three hours (like us!).
- Not starting early enough. If bedtime is seven and you have a 45 min routine, that means dinner has to be finished by 6:15. Plan for how long your child takes to eat, and have dinner ready before then!