6 ways to create better bedtime routines

Bedtime routines are a proven way to help your little one go to sleep easier. By building routines and keeping them, you can help the whole family to sleep better. Han-Son from Daddilife gives his tips on creating a bedtime routine - perfect for new dads and mums.

Sleep makes all the difference to promoting happy homes, and whether you are a parent to a newborn or a lively toddler, it is never too early to start a bedtime routine. Helping your children develop a positive relationship with sleep not only promotes their well-being but can contribute to the bond you have with them. The type of bedtime routine you work with is age-dependent, but the fundamentals are the same. If you combine consistency with creativity, you won't go far wrong whether you're a new Dad or an experienced parent who is looking for some extra tips. In the list below, we’ve written about suggestions for effective bedtime routines, but keep in mind there are no specific rights and wrongs. Try and relax and you are likely to enjoy the process.

 

1. start with consistency

Sleep patterns vary with age and individual need. If you have a newborn, think about a bedtime routine at around 3 months old, taking into account their weaning schedule. It's important to help your baby learn good sleeping behaviours as soon as possible as it will benefit your child, and you, in the longer term. Begin by adopting a consistent bedtime - for example, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Try not to leave it later to avoid over-tiredness. Regularity will encourage your baby's internal clock to interpret these times as sleep time. Combine day-night sleep schedules to promote a better bedtime. Children under one often benefit from morning and/or afternoon naps, but your 2-year-old might need just one daytime nap. Clearly, there are no written in stone rules. Children are individuals so you'll find that their daytime sleep needs will shift gradually from more to less.

2. a calm environment encourages sleep

To help your child associate their bedroom with the place to sleep and relax, take an overview of the room and assess how sleep-friendly it is. If you have a newborn, it's important to start teaching their internal clocks to associate a calming atmosphere with bedtime. If there are toys lying around, or anything else that might encourage activity, provide storage in your child's bedroom for these. Maintain the zone around their bed/crib as clutter free, promoting the sleeping area as the area where sleep happens. Blackout blinds or curtains are effective for dealing with lighter summer days as well as streetlights, a darker room helping to reduce disruption to your child's internal clock. Spend a bit of time thinking about colour. Choose soothing colours like blues and greens, as well as the paler yellows, avoiding busier colours like reds.

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3. crafts and games

Crafts with kids before bedtime is not counter-intuitive. They are about connecting particular crafts and games to a relaxing bedtime routine. Some suggestions include helping your children be book foragers - give them a fun prop such as a badge or hat and have them search for those items lying around, to be put away before bedtime. Give a reward such as a gold star sticker. Get creative with a finger puppet show, projecting on the bedroom ceiling with different shapes and characters as you tell a magical story.

4. bath-time means bedtime

A warm bubble-bath is a perfect way to connect relaxation with bedtime. You can spend time with your child, talking about their day, or bonding with your baby using the soothing medium of water that most children simply love. After their bath, wrapping them in a warm towel and perhaps giving a gentle massage, is an excellent precursor to bedtime. Changing into bedclothes in their bedroom also helps reinforce the association with sleep.

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5. lights out or lights low?

If you have a baby feeding during the night, or a toddler in need of the bathroom, try using red bulbs in your lamps. These provide a soothing, dim light that is less likely to alert your child's brain that it is wake up time. Similarly, use red bulbs for your reading lamps when telling a bedtime story or singing a lullaby. Where you can, dim the living room lights prior to bedtime, too, as brighter lights can interfere with the internal body clock.

6. simple steps to sleep

Associate bedtime with enjoyable activities that deepen the bonds between you and your child. Lullabies are wonderful for this, as are bedtime stories and talking about your plans for the next day as something to look forward to. Finally, draw a line between daytime and time for sleep with a kiss goodnight or I love you, the perfect way to bring the day to a close.

From creating bedtime routines to potty training toddlers to dad jokes; Daddilife curate the very best Dad content for everything you need to know. You can read more stories over on their website.

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