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Friday, March 14, 2014

How to Establish a Bedtime

How to Establish a Bed Time

What Time is Bedtime Anyway?

A very common question from new parents is at what age should you begin to establish a bed time for your child?  Honestly, the earlier you begin is best, but most importantly, by the time your child begins sleeping through the night. Establishing a bed time for your child provides a level of comfort and security because she’ll know what to expect, and when to expect it. Not only does establishing a bedtime give a parent one on one quiet time with their child, but will also allow the parent time for themselves, or with a significant other afterwards. Also, establishing a bedtime early in life helps minimize the possibility of bedtime drama later in life.

Your bedtime routine could begin with a warm, soothing bath or a simple warm washcloth over their face and hands, changing her diaper, and putting on pajamas. Move into the child’s bedroom where you can lay baby in the crib or sit her on your lap in a nearby chair. Turn down the lights, sing a lullaby, tell a story, or read a book to relax them. You don’t have to wait until baby falls asleep before placing her in the crib. Although she may fuss a little at first, she’ll adapt to the routine in the coming days.

Your child’s bedroom should be a place of welcome and comfort, so consider a neutral location other than their bedroom for a timeout. This could avoid any association as her bedroom being a place of dread, and make establishing a pleasant bedtime routine more difficult.

Keep the bedtime routine short, simple, and relaxed. It’s much easier to lengthen a routine in the future than cutting back on the time spent. Do make sure it is quality time so that baby looks forward to the time she spends with you.

As she gets older, your child may need to release some energy before the bedtime routine begins. Play games such as peek-a-boo and patty-cake that will expel some energy, but not get baby too wound up. If you live in a location where loud noises from outside may disturb your child, consider purchasing a sound machine. These inexpensive gadgets produce sounds that induce relaxation such as white noise, a summer rain, and the waves of the ocean washing against the beach. You may find that you purchase one for yourself, too!

How much sleep should baby get? This varies from child to child but babies aged 1 to 18 months require as much as 11 to 16 hours of sleep per day, including naps. With that in mind, begin your bedtime routine at a time that will allow you time to complete it, have a little time to yourself, and get plenty of rest for tomorrow.

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