Whether your baby is just 3 months or 3 years old, a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine can make such a difference to how well they settle down at bedtime. Keep it nice and simple but the key is consistency! The routine should begin 30–40 minutes before bedtime and can be adapted to suit each individual family.
Before getting in the bath, younger babies often love some nappy-free leg kicking time, and this can be accompanied with the likes of star gazing or some under the sea magic in a dark room using a children's projector. Their little mesmerised faces is what it's all about!
For all ages, try to keep the bath fun but not too over stimulating - we want it to be a calming experience that should last no longer than 10 minutes. Before putting your child in the water make sure the temperature is not too hot but equally not too cold - remember Goldilocks! You want to aim for a temperature of 37 °C and I suggest using a bath thermometer to check this. The first few times you bathe your newborn, try putting a warm wet facecloth across their chest and tummy area whilst they are sitting in their bath support. It magically reassures and can help keep them calm.
Here's a handy list of essentials for a successful bath time:
Bath toys, Bath support (if newborn) ,Baby bath mat ,Toothbrush , Bath thermometer ,Mild soap suitable for baby or child ,Shampoo suitable for baby or child , Shampoo rinser ,Bath towel ,Soft washcloth
Now your baby’s all fresh and cosy and wrapped up in their towel or bath robe, it’s time to get them ready for bed. For younger babies, this is a great time for a baby massage whilst playing some calming lullabies to relax and unwind before getting them dressed.
Any parent with a toddler has probably experienced the bedtime battles, so a handy little trick to keep them distracted in their bedroom is playing an audio story book.This can be a game changer in keeping them entertained whilst getting them dressed. Also giving them options but controlled options can really help the process run more smoothly. So, for example “Would you like to wear your blue or red pyjamas tonight?” Just make sure you provide options where you are happy with the two outcomes!
The ideal room temperature for sleep is 16-20°C, but sometimes their room will be naturally warmer, especially in the summer months. So, here is a guide on what to dress your child in, dependent on room temperature. I recommend using a sleeping bag until they transition into a toddler bed which is usually around 2.5 -3 years old. Just make sure you are using the right sleeping bag tog based on room temperature:
Once dressed, this is a good time for milk followed by teeth brushing. My favourite part of bedtime can then begin - ‘Story Time’. There are so many wonderful and creative story books out there for all ages and a 5 minute cuddle and book is such a lovely way to end the day before getting into bed.
After 6 months of age, it's safe to introduce a comforter during naps and bedtime. I am a huge fan of comforters in terms of encouraging baby to settle themselves and can really help when going through separation anxiety.
White noise can be a useful sleep aid especially for younger babies as the comforting sound mimics what they heard in the womb. For older children it can act as a sleep cue that also muffles out all external noises in the home that could potentially wake them. White noise is most effective when played continuously for the whole duration of the night and nap, but just make sure the volume is at a safe level no louder than 60-70 decibels from where your baby sleeps.
Bedtime should be a fun and relaxing time for you all and I hope this helps to get you one step closer to a restful night. Sweet Dreams! x
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