Why a Bedtime/Naptime Routine is Important…
Do you ever do anything specifically before bed to help yourself wind down from a long busy day of errands, household chores, meal prep, work, etc, etc, etc…? Perhaps you take a bath, catch up on some shows, do some light reading or brush and floss your teeth (this one you really should do before bed)! Have you ever thought about why these things help you wind down and go to sleep? Let’s face it, some would argue that after having a long day of work and taking care of the kids all you need is for your head to hit that pillow to be out like a light! For others, babies especially, having a consistent bedtime routine is so important and here’s why:
Between their naps and before bedtime, a child is constantly absorbing the world around them and taking in all sorts of new information. To just place them in the crib without warning and think that as soon as their head will hit the mattress they will fall asleepcan actually cause the opposite reaction from babies, especially if a child is going through separation anxiety. It can cause a sense of anxiety, confusion, and for a lot of babies, resistance due to FOMO (fear of missing out). Babies like to know when things are going to happen and what they should expect by subtle clues that we give them in the form of a nap routine or bedtime routine.
By doing a routine – or certain steps in the same way each time you put the child down for a nap or bedtime, it helps them to recognize that sleep is approaching, and this will be their “wind down” time. The routine doesn’t have to be long or complicated, perhaps 5-10 minutes for naps and 20-30 minutes for bedtime.
Here are some ideas for activities your naptime and bedtime routine can include:
- Diaper Change
- PJ’s/Bedtime Clothing
- Putting Sleep Sack On
- Reading a Book
- Putting Sound Machine On
- Dimming the Lights
For those stubborn, tricky naps where we have stimulation and daylight constantly working against us, doing some steps in the same way actually helps to prepare the child for sleep, so they are not surprised or confused that it’s time to get some rest.
If you are one of those people that just needs a pillow or somewhat of a comfy surface and you can drift off into dreamland, send some of that magic my way…
In the meantime, for our tiny humans, keep in mind that they thrive off of predictability and knowing what to expect, so try it out and see if it makes a difference in the amount of time your tiny human takes to settle in for some zzz’s.
Feel free to contact me to discuss more about bedtime/naptime routines or ideas.
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Founder of Gentle Dreams
Disclaimer: The information/advice provided in any form of communication by Gentle Dreams is not a substitute for medical advice. The advice is for informational purposes only and is intended for use with common sleep issues that are unrelated to medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or the health and welfare of your child.