Creating a bedtime routine

By Drum Digital
16 April 2014

Guidelines on how you can establish a solid bedtime routine

Following our article on creating a sleep zone we provide guidelines on how you can establish a solid bedtime routine. “Toddlers thrive on routine, so having the identical bedtime routine every night will soon become a trigger to him to start shutting down to a calmer state.”

Tips on how to create a bedtime routine

  1. Keep this time of day calm and quiet by limiting horseplay and excitement.
  2. Do relaxing activities together such as watering the garden, doing a puzzle or playing “I spy”.
  3. Try to serve supper at the same time every evening and perform the same activities until bedtime, for example reading a book.
  4. Make tidying up part of the routine so they can learn to put toys and dishes away as part of the routine of sleeping.
  5. Let them help you lay out pyjamas on the bed in preparation for putting them on and going to bed.
  6. Have them take a bath before bedtime and add a drop of lavender or camomile oil to it. Limit the bath toys to simple stacking toys.
  7. Wrap them tightly in a warm towel when finished and dry with deep, firm strokes which will help your child relax.
  8. Have a favourite, calming song to sing before bedtime.
  9. Try an infant massage after bath time. Richardson says this is one of the most effective ways to calm anyone, including children, and it enhances parent-child bonding. The International Association of Infant Massage in SA (011-787-0681) can offer more information.
  10.  Put on some calming music such as lullabies.
  11. Read together – this can be a calming exercise. Stick to age-appropriate stories or old favourites.
  12. Give a firm goodnight after the last kiss and cuddle and leave while your child is still “happily awake”, not drowsy or asleep – Richardson warns that otherwise you’ll create the expectation to always stay with them, which can become an issue later on, especially when they need to sleep out or if someone else is babysitting.

-          Supermom

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