One important routine they’ll complete each day is their evening routine, which will set them up for a good night’s sleep – for both bub, and parents. When setting a routine, I always encourage parents to create a series of predictable events to give babies and toddlers a sense of security and comfort in knowing they are going to bed. When doing this, it’s important to remember a few things:
Keep it simple. Stick to four or five things that happen each night that can be relied upon. An evening routine has to work for your family, keeping in mind lifestyle factors such as work, fitness and family events. It should be about spending time together to fill your little one’s ‘attention cup’ so they can head into bedtime feeling emotionally satisfied. A rushed bedtime is stressful for everyone and can lead to bedtime refusal and crying (which no one wants).
Bathtime should be scheduled after playtime, with bathing still acting as a fun and upbeat activity! However, after bath time, ensure you’re starting to encourage your child to wind down and settle in for the evening.
After a bath, change your little one straight into their pajamas (little babies might even have a massage after their bath) and then milk – whichever is age appropriate for your child. I do like to leave a bit of time after a feed, allowing time to burp your baby and for toddlers to brush their teeth.
Above all, remember that this is an ‘ideal situation’ nighttime routine. Some things like the bath may only happen every other day, and if your child is feeling super tired, you may not have time to include every step of the routine. Take it easy – you don’t need to rush through it. Communicate what is coming up next each night so your little one is forewarned, and create a consistent pattern that your little one can rely on. From here, everything else will fall into place, and your little one will be sleeping in no time. Bliss!