When it’s 11 PM and your child is still bouncing off the walls (for the fifth night in a row), you know something’s gotta change. Your kid might be the cutest, sweetest, most adorable baby on the planet, but you and that baby both desperately need sleep. That’s right, it’s time to implement a sleep routine into your little one’s schedule. It might be a little difficult at first to develop a sleep schedule that works for you and your babe, but when you gain back the freedom of going to bed at a reasonable hour (or, you know, watching your favorite show uninterrupted), it’ll be totally, 100% worth it.
Start as Early as Possible
Did you know you can start establishing a bedtime routine as early as two months? Early on, teach your baby that nighttime is for sleeping and daytime is for playtime by keeping the house bright during the day and dim and quiet at night. This will help the growing babe get used to a consistent schedule.
Create a Schedule Based on Your Baby’s Needs
That popular mommy blogger you follow might insist that 7 PM is the optimal bedtime for infants and should never be deviated from, but the truth is, every baby is unique and there’s not a one-size-fits-all sleeping routine. Pay attention to your baby’s cues to learn when he or she usually gets hungry or sleepy and create a routine based around that.
Allow for Flexibility
You know how babies always seem to wake up at 4 AM on the mornings you can actually sleep in and don’t wake up until 10 AM on the mornings you have somewhere to be? Setting a schedule doesn’t ensure that days like this won’t still happen from time to time and definitely doesn’t ensure that your baby will perfectly follow your routine every day, and that’s okay. But, it’s also important to remember that keeping your baby out a little later than bedtime to go to dinner with your friends or catch a movie with your significant other from time to timewon’t throw off your child’s entire schedule. Flexibility is key.
Plan for “Calm Down” Activities before Bed
When your child is a bit older, try to reserve the hour before bedtime for quiet activities. This can include reading or coloring or any other calming activities your child enjoys. Try to avoid things like sports, tag, video games, or anything else that might get your child fired up.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Come up with a bedtime plan and do your best to stick with that routine, in that specific order, each night. A bedtime routine might look something like this: warm bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, brush hair, read a book, sing a lullaby, give a kiss, turn off the light. Of course, you can customize this to include or exclude any activities you’d like. Whatever works best for you and your child! Having a consistent bedtime routine signifies to your child that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep—and makes sticking to bedtime that much easier.
With these tips, you can try to avoid a bit of that unpredictability that comes with a baby’s sleeping schedule. Teaching that precious baby of yours to get accustomed to a nightly routine will help you and your little one sleep a little sweeter. Until your significant other starts snoring, of course.
Struggling with sleep apnea, snoring, or another sleep condition? We’ve got plenty of options for you. Take back your sleep (and your sanity). Discuss your child’s sleep routine with Dr. Pasha and his team. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!