Bedtime Routines

Bedtime Routines

– Hi, I’m Dana, welcome
to this week’s video. Today I wanna talk about bedtime routines. You’ve probably already heard it before but I wanna give you some tips today on what I consider great steps
in a child’s bedtime routine. Now, the first thing to think about is we all have bedtime routines, right? Think about how you get yourself
ready for bed every night. You probably brush your
teeth, wash your face, get your pajamas on. That’s your routine. You do it in the same order
every night most likely and what it’s doing is
it’s helping you transition from day into night. It’s getting your body
and your brain ready for the fact that you’re
gonna go to sleep now for the night. So it’s really important for our children that we do the same thing, that we allow them a little bit of space to get used to the idea that they’re gonna go
to bed for the night. So a routine I believe can
start from day one really and it should continue
on with your children really for the rest of their life. So some of the common
mistakes people often make in a routine is that it’s too
long, there’s too many steps, there’s all kinds of things going on, there’s reading and
massage and TV watching and game playing and all of
these things are happening. You really wanna keep it moving
in a step by step fashion. You want it to be about 20 to 30 minutes. I find 20 to 30 minutes is really optimal for getting that body and
brain ready for the idea but not too long that they’re gonna start
to push into overtiredness. You also want it to be predictable, right? So if there’s 10 steps involved
in your bedtime routine, your child is gonna have no opportunity to really remember what’s coming next. So about five steps is what
I like to see happening and I don’t recommend that
there be any kind of TV watching in your child’s bedtime routine. We know that the light source
that comes from screen use really interferes with
melatonin production and that’s that sleepy hormone that’s really super important
to helping us fall asleep in a timely manner at bedtime and also keep us asleep through the night. So no screens an hour before bedtime is my rule of thumb around that. There doesn’t really need
to be a snack involved. If you’ve had dinner
just an hour or two prior then there’s no need to
add food to the equation. So my favorite bedtime
routine looks like this. A bath or shower. I think that that is a great stage setter. It’s a good first step. Most children really enjoy
bath time or shower time and you don’t need to worry
about them relaxing, right? I have never met a child
who’s like listening to Mozart and candlelight and
relaxing in a bubble bath. That’s not happening. That’s for you but not for your child. It’s fun, they like to play in there. There’s so many amazing bath toys. Who wouldn’t love it? Keep it short enough though. I would say about 10 minutes
is perfect for bath time, maybe 15 but you don’t wanna
let this drag too, too long or again, overtiredness is
what we wanna be aware of. So bath, that’s awesome and then obviously getting
into some sort of pajamas, brushing teeth, story time I love. If your child is interested or enjoys getting a massage from you, I think that’s a great
way to get that touch that everyone loves to have and who doesn’t love a
massage, it feels wonderful but again, don’t let that
drag on too long either ’cause we don’t want them to
get into that overtired phase but I love story time. I mean, I’m a teacher by training. So any chance we have
to read to our children even in infancy I think it’s
a great habit to get into. Just one or two, two at the most. Our rule always with our children until they could read to themselves was two books and only
ever two books a night and that’s really important to hang onto especially when you get
into that toddler phase where they like to push boundaries. Just hang on tight to the two rule and that’s gonna save you
a lot of time down the road but stories is great. If talking about a baby here then feeding may need to
take place in the routine ’cause you wanna make sure that they’re getting a nice full tummy so that they can go as
long as they possibly can through the night. One word of caution
though in your routine. If feeding is part of it, make sure your baby stays
awake through the feeding. That’s very, very important. If they fall asleep while you’re feeding then what’s happening is that feeding is becoming the sleep prop. It’s becoming the sleep crutch. It’s the way in which your baby thinks her or she needs in
order for sleep to come. So what’s gonna happen then is you’re gonna get stuck
in this sort of cycle of waking up periodically
through the night needing you to feed them to sleep again and this might not be a food issue. It might just be a strategy issue, okay? There’s a big difference there. The food is a nice perk but it’s the strategy that
they’re after, not the food. If they think they need that
breast or bottle in their mouth in order to get back to sleep then that’s why they’re waking
repeatedly through the night. So keep your baby as awake as you can through that routine,
the feed in the routine and get them to the crib
again as awake as you can so that they can start
putting the pieces together for falling asleep independently, right, without a lot of help or props and that’s gonna turn this child into such a beautiful sleeper. You’re gonna be amazing
all of your friends. Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.

One Reply to “Bedtime Routines”

  1. Thanks Dana, that''s helpful. My 7mo is doing great at night and falls asleep independently for almost the whole night (usualy just one waking). We struggle with naps though. He will cry literally for hours unless he is breast fed to sleep. I"ve used the same sleep sense method that worked at night for naps but he responds totally differently. The only difference is a shortened routine for naps. Can you please make a video on how naptraining differs from sleep training? What am I missing? Appreciate your program, thanks!

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