Do you give your little one a bath at bedtime? Or books? Songs and kisses?
There was a small study done that showed that the children who got a bath 30 minutes before bed had an easier time going to bed.
Was it the consistancy of the regular routine? Did it relax them and encourage the production of the calming melatonin hormone?
What if the bath is very fun and exciting and ends up stimulating your child? What if they were all ready tired and ready to sleep, wouldn’t the bath just wake them up and give them a second wind? (Cortisol hormone rush-NOT what you want at bedtime.)
So let’s approach bedtime in a totally different way. (I say this a lot) Think of the “Bedtime Routine” as having 2 pieces.
First, we have the wind-down activities. This is all the things you have to do to prepare for bed. Like supper, feedings, baths (only if you like it and it is calming for your child), fresh diaper, maybe massage while they are undressed for the diaper, PJ’s on etc. For the wind-down, it helps to do them in the same order but how long you spend on each activity can vary. This will give you consistancy and a good flow to your activities. It will be familiar. If you like to do the bath every other night or less frequently, place it into the same slot in your order of things.
Second, you have your routine of signals to sleep. 3-5 things that you do in the same order for the same amount of time in the same way. You could do a story, a song, a prayer and a kiss. When done consistently, these things will signal to your child that they are about to be put in bed.
So here’s the secret…
Between the wind-down and the signal routine, watch for sleep cues. If you see sleep cues while doing your wind-down, end it, skip the last steps if necessary, and do your signals routine. Catching the sleep window helps everyone get to sleep more easily. If you can slide smoothly through the routines and catch the sleep window, you will be in a better place to get sleep success.
For more sleep secrets, call me for a gentle sleep consultation. I create gentle sleep plans that don’t involve “cry it out”.
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Specializing in alert, bright eyed, observant, curious, spirited babies and children.