Babies and young children are creatures of habit, and they enjoy the predictability of a ritual. Performing the same simple tasks before bed each night helps signal that everything is safe and sound, and that it’s time to go to sleep.
Here are some parent-tested guidelines for an easy bedtime routine.
Consistency is everything. Have a fairly firm bedtime and a predictable order of events. Make sure the ritual takes place in your child’s own room or sleeping area.
Keep it simple. Keep your bedtime routine basic so it can be followed even when you are away from home. You can include a warm bath, a bedtime story or a song, being tucked in, and a kiss goodnight.
Provide reminders. Toddlers may benefit from a couple of reminders that bedtime is approaching; springing it on them suddenly will only make them more reluctant to give up playing.
Turn out the lights. This helps your child distinguish the difference between day and night. If he wakes up and it’s dark, then it’s still “night time.”
Be flexible. If your child is sick and wants an extra story you can bend the rules a little — just try not to dismantle the routine entirely.
Bedtime is a special time for both of you, so enjoy the bonding and snuggles along with the challenges.