Pick 3 For a Perfect Bedtime Routine

There’s nothing new parents think about more than sleep. Having a newborn is exhausting and, as babies begin to grow and sleep for slightly longer stretches, parents might start to think about establishing a positive and effective bedtime routine. While there’s no perfect routine, and night waking through the toddler years is often normal, there are some things parents can do to help their baby begin to appreciate bedtime.

To create a routine, you’ll need to think about what sort of activities you and your baby enjoy and what is doable in your everyday life. There are lots of right ways to put your baby to bed. Craft your perfect bedtime routine by selecting 2-3 of the bedtime routine elements below and adding them in to your evenings every day.

bedtime
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{ MORE: Getting Your Toddler into His Very Own Big Kid Bed }

A warm bath

A warm bath will get your baby fresh and clean and help them start to feel relaxed and tired as you approach bedtime.

A baby massage

While baby massage might sound like a silly concept, it’s been shown that massage helps relax babies and bond with their caretakers. You don’t have to do anything fancy, just look up a few videos of baby massage, be gentle and enjoy their sweet coos.

A sweet song

Most babies love the sound of the person they love singing to them. Pick a few songs early in your baby’s life and sing them night after night to help baby begin to associate them with bedtime.

A good story

Even if your baby isn’t old enough to understand the plot of whatever story you might be telling them they’ll certainly tune in to the sound and rhythm of your voice as they get ready for sleep.

Time in the rocking chair

If you have a rocking chair, consider spending a little while rocking your baby as you move them towards sleep. While some people say that rocking a baby to sleep establishes a “bad” routine, it’s only “bad” if you don’t want to do it. Developmentally, babies need to be held and rocked. And you, as their caretaker, are the perfect person for the job.

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A nursing session

Just like some people think that rocking a baby to sleep is a bad idea, others think nursing a baby is harmful. In reality, it’s only bad to nurse baby to sleep if YOU don’t want to nurse them to sleep. Again, babies need to be held, rocked, and fed. Don’t worry about establishing a “bad” routine by meeting your baby’s needs.

A playful hand game

Babies love experiencing how words and sounds can go together. Play a little gentle patty cake, indulge in some peek-a-boo, or let your itsy-bitsy spider crawl as you sing.  

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A retelling of the day

If storytelling isn’t your thing, consider just talking through the previous day with your little one and watch as their eyes light up at the sound of your voice.

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Pick 3 For a Perfect Bedtime Routine

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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