I have 2 very different sleepers. I have a 4 year old, whose entire night’s sleep can be derailed by the wrong set of socks, and then there’s my youngest who can nap through a Disneyland fireworks show. My kids have almost nothing in common in terms of their sleeping habits, and yet I have found a bedtime routine that works for both of them so I think I may be onto something.
Here are my fail-safe tips to a rock solid bedtime routine:
- Three discernible events: Discernible, that is, to even a 9 month old. The 3 (or more) events that work for your family can be anything you want but here’s what we do:
- Bath/brush teeth (not necessary for naps)
- Nurse/bottle (we stop this step after 12 months)
- Books/songs (Pro tip: Set a number of books or songs ahead of time otherwise you’ll be in for a battle. For us, it’s 2 of each.)
- Set the scene: Make their sleeping space conducive for good sleep. Here’s what we do:
- Blackout curtains
- Tidy the room
- White noise machine
- Night light
- Security object: I could write a lengthy and detailed love letter to my kid’s security objects. A security object can be anything but it’s usually a small blanket or stuffed animal. Be sure to choose the object deliberately. Go for quality, they’re probably going to have it for years and buy at least two. Change them out periodically so there is no difference in feel between their “main squeeze” and the back-up. The feel and smell of their security object will do just that, bring them security. Again, this is one more tool in your toolbox to facilitate comfort and relaxation for your child at bedtime. This is also useful when moving or traveling. Their security object will bring them a sense of normalcy and comfort when external factors change.
There you have it. You now have the keys to my rock solid bedtimes. This is the product of almost 5 years’ worth of trial and error and the best advice I can give any expectant mom.