Bedtime Routine: What Works and What Doesn’t

Jun 26, 2018

Parenthood // Toddlers


As a parent, you may have heard a number of stories about children and sleep. You might also have looked up a few ideas for baby bedtime routine. But from tiny babies with colic to toddles with a temper, bedtime can sometimes feel a little overwhelming for many parents. And sometimes, it can feel like, well, like trying to cross the finish line in a marathon.

But sleep time with your baby or toddler should be a special time! At Wellements, we’re firm believers that your bedtime routine can be a time of connecting and engaging with your child. How can you make this the norm in your house? That’s a great question! These baby bedtime routines will help you turn nighttime into something you and your child look forward to.

But why is routine important?

Before we dive in, let’s see why a baby bedtime routine is so important. First, there are a number of benefits for your baby when it comes to regular, healthy sleep. During this time in their life, their development is so critical. A baby bedtime routine provides your child with the structure they need to take full advantage of these benefits. Plus, it also makes it easier on you once they’re in the groove.

What’s so special about bedtime?

But there’s another reason it’s so important that’s not so obvious: baby bedtime is a chance to bond and engage with your child. By creating a safe, loving environment for them, you’re showing how special they are to you.

Dos and don’ts of creating baby bedtime routines

Don’t force it

Whether your child is only a couple months old or a couple of years, sleep should be a relaxing time. Forcing it will only lead to bigger problems.

Do establish a fun, engaging ritual

And no matter your child’s age, an engaging nighttime activity can work wonders. Now, you don’t want something that gets them too excited. But reading together, a soothing night-time song, or bath-time right before bed, are excellent examples.

Don’t leave all the lights on

Believe it or not, your baby’s natural sleep-wake cycle starts developing within 6 weeks. And just like you, they require a balance between light and dark to make the best of that cycle. While some light is okay, your baby’s sleep area should be dark and cozy.

Do make your day bright and full of life

On that note, however, your baby’s daytime should be full of light. This helps create a contrast between playtime and their sleep routine. We also recommend turning down the lights whenever possible as your baby gets closer to bedtime.

Don’t wait until they’ve fallen asleep on you

When you’re a parent, it can be very tempting to let your little one fall asleep on you. And sometimes, that’s okay! But to create a sleep-centered bedtime routine, it’s best to associate your baby’s sleeping area with their natural desire to rest.

Do snuggle up and bond with them

Once you’ve established a sleep area for your child, take time to bond! This way, you make sleep-time something special for you and your baby or toddler.

Don’t argue about your routine

If you’re working to establish a bedtime routine with your toddler, you might feel particularly stressed out. Resist the urge to argue with them about it or turn it into a power struggle.

Do talk about why it’s important

Still, you can definitely share with your child why you’ve created a sleep schedule for them. This helps them gain a better understanding of the benefits  andhow much you love spending this time with them!

Don’t rush to your baby

As a parent, you’ll also want to resist running to your child at the first cry. Instead, pause and wait a moment. Ask why they’re crying and whether it warrants immediate attention.

Do read up on sleep regressions

If you haven’t had a chance to check out information on sleep regressions, it’s a must. These periods come at different times and can very much change up your child’s sleep behaviors. Knowing what to expect can provide extra insight and understanding for how to modify your bedtime routine if needed.

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