Last month, we walked you through how to choose the right bedtime for your child. As you fine-tune your evening routine, let’s focus on how to make it an enjoyable experience.
When creating a calming bedtime routine, it’s important to pick low-stress activities that are relaxing and comfortable. It’s important to personalize your routine to instill comfort and a sense of security in your child. We recommend trying “The 4 Bs Approach.” Here’s what that looks like:
- Bath: Start your wind-down routine with a warm, relaxing bath for your child. Play some calming music and end bath time with a lotion massage! This will begin to settle your child’s mind and body.
- Bottle (optional): Snuggle up and allow your child to have one last bottle before bed. For infants, continue to follow their feeding schedule. For older children who are no longer on a bottle, feel free to skip this step or replace it with a cup of water.
- Book: Reading with your child is one of the best things you can do—day or night. It’s a beneficial addition to your nighttime routine to support continued bonding. It helps them continue to develop literacy skills and is a nice relaxing activity.
- Bed: Lay your child down and follow the same series of personalized steps to wrap things up and signal it’s time for sleep. For example, sing a special song, cover them with a favorite blanket or tuck a beloved stuffed animal under their arm (if they’re old enough for these items), turn the soothing lullabies on, etc.
What other things have you tried? Remember, young children thrive on routines! Setting a consistent bedtime routine will help your child understand and recognize when bedtime is approaching.
Consistently implementing the routine every night will help children create healthy sleep habits which will continue to support their growth and development for years to come.