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What does a good bedtime routine look like and why is it so important?

Bedtime can be far from peaceful and enjoyable for both you and your little ones at the end of each day. Is bedtime a time you dread each day? You would not be alone in feeling this way.

Days can be so busy, and it can be overwhelming thinking about how to start implementing a bedtime routine that work for you and your family. Especially when you are tired and feeling a little lost with what suits you all. There are simple steps you can put in place that will make bedtime a smooth, enjoyable time and resulting is more sleep for everyone. Sound good?

A relaxing, predictable bedtime routine is the perfect way to help the whole family to wind down in preparation for a peaceful night. The routine you choose should work for your family and is a great opportunity to bond with your child. Some things you could consider are…

· A warm bath where you can play, laugh, and talk to your baby.

· A bedtime story, even as a newborn, reading together is fantastic for early communication skills and lovely time for cuddles.

· Sing a little lullaby whilst you cuddle and settle your baby.

Once you have decided on a routine, make sure you stick to the same steps each evening. You should start to notice quickly that your evenings are much calmer and you child settles well for a restful night sleep.

Through the afternoon on the run up to bedtime, your child will begin to produce melatonin. Melatonin is our ‘sleep hormone’ and we need to ensure we put out little ones down at an optimal time for this to avoid overtiredness. You want to make sure you start your bedtime around 30 minutes before desired bedtime. The way to work out the best bedtime is to look at the appropriate wake windows or your child and use this as a guideline from the end of the last nap.

During the bedtime wind-down, try to reduce stimulation as much as possible. It is worth reducing screen time an hour before bedtime and keep everything calm. If you have multiple children, it is worth ensuring everyone is having a calm time before bedtime no matter their ages.

When sharing a story or lullaby, it is worth doing this is the same place and order each night to keep consistency.

For younger babies, it is a good idea to ensure they have a full tummy before bed. If your baby tends to fall asleep during a feed, then give milk at the start of your bedtime routine.

How do I do bedtime routine with two young children?

My nearly 3-year-old and 15-month-old bath together and enjoy some play time together. Once they are both washed, my 15 months old comes out of the bath first and my little boy continues playing. I take all her bedtime clothes into the bathroom to get her dry and ready for bed so I can keep my eye on him in the bah. Once she is dressed, I get my boy out and take them both to his bedroom to get ready for bed. Once they are both dressed, I leave my little boy looking and books and take my youngest to her room and read her a book and cuddle. Once she is in bed I return to my little boy and read a book and cuddle and then he helps me turn his light off. I read a ‘mummy’ book about our day whilst I settle him down in his sleep bag. I turn white noise on for both my children when I leave their rooms.

This is an example of how I manage bedtime routine when alone but when my partner is home, we take a child each to make things a little smoother.

Hopefully this helps you when planning your bedtime routine.

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