The sooner you establish a bedtime routine for your little one, the better. Your child will quickly learn to appreciate the predictability and consistency leading up to bedtime. A bedtime routine is great for parents, too—as you may be able to make plans for yourself and your spouse after your child has gone to bed.
Start early enough in the evening to give enough time for your routine before bedtime. Younger babies may need a shorter routine, while older babies may need a longer period of time to wind down.
Getting the energy out
In many cases, babies may need to first let off some steam before settling down for the night. You may opt to dance around the room to his or her favorite song, play an exciting game of peekaboo, or even bounce around the bouncer. It is important, however, to follow up any exciting activities with something quieter and calmer.
Giving a bath
Giving a nice bath before bedtime is among the most popular parts of any bedtime routine. Sitting in the warm water can be soothing for the baby, and it also a great time for you to spend some quality time with your little one. If your baby isn’t fond of baths or gets overly excited by them, however, then you may want to take it out of your nighttime routine.
After a nice relaxing bath, your bedtime routine can include brushing your baby’s teeth or wiping his or her gums, putting on a fresh diaper, and getting him or her into pajamas.
Reading a story
Reading a bedtime story (or stories) is another popular part of any bedtime routine. Your child will not only have some quality time with you, but he or she will also be exposed to new words!
Having a quiet chat
Take the opportunity to have a quiet chat and review the day’s events and activities with your baby. You may ask your child what he or she wishes to dream about tonight, or say a prayer together as a family.
Singing a lullaby
Nothing lulls a sleepy baby off to dreamland like a lullaby. Sing or hum a soothing melody to your child, or even play a CD of lullabies at a low volume.