When babies are less than four months old, they only fall asleep for a short while. As they grow up, they start learning how to self-soothe and soon they will be able to sleep for longer durations. The time they start falling asleep without much help from their parents is when you can start a bedtime routine for your babies. This should happen when they are about 6 months old. Establishing a bedtime routine the right way is crucial in getting them to sleep early and you can catch up on your Z’s too! So, here are 5 simple steps to remember if you want to establish a proper routine for babies:
1. Pick a bedtime that suits you
First, decide what time your baby should go to sleep and wake up. For this, you need to know how long your baby sleeps at a stretch. Putting them to bed early would mean that they get up early too. You can avoid this by making sure their room stays dark till you wake him/her up the next morning. This way, you can get things done before they wake up and after they have fallen asleep.
2. Change to night clothes
When it is about 20-30 minutes to bedtime, change them into comfortable night clothes. This also includes dressing them in an all-night diaper. You could change your own clothes too. This way, they will know that changing clothes means that it is almost nap-time.
3. Make the room dark
Before you put them to sleep in their crib, ensure that their room is dark enough. Don’t use any night lights either. Also, make sure the room stays dark till the next morning when you go to wake them up. You could use drapes and blinds to make the room dark.
4. Play soft music
During the last 10-15 minutes before bedtime, after changing their clothes, keep some soft music playing in the background. You can then engage them in some mellow activities like looking at a picture book or a toy. You can then use this toy to lure them to the crib. Use the same toy whenever you put them to bed so that they associate sleep with the toy and not the crib. You will be thankful for this when you have to travel and can’t carry the entire crib with you.
5. Read a book
Once they are in the crib, start gently and softly rubbing their belly and back. You can then start reading them a story from a book. It doesn't matter if your baby doesn't understand your words yet. Hearing their mom's voice helps calm them down and commands them to sleep. Stay with them till their eyelids start drooping. Once their eyes start to close (but don’t close completely), you can leave them alone in their crib. They should fall asleep on their own from there.
Repeat this routine every day and you will see that they sleep better than ever before. If you found this article useful, please do share it with your friends and family!