Let’s face it sleep routine and bedtime is a struggle for every mom at some point or another. For me it started from day one. The night we brought him home was a complete mess. From that night on we slept in shifts holding our baby it was awful. We didn’t really get to enjoy being new parents as we were so exhausted. Every night was trial and error and let me tell you for years we were failing. But one thing I have learned about parenting that is a constant where most things are not is that in failure are lessons. And boy oh boy did we learn quite a few! So tonight I have decided to share one of the biggest lessons we have learned as parents that took a very long time to learn.
The secret key to getting your little on a bedtime routine. Now I understand that most blogs about sleep will often have affiliate links to products they loved that they swear by did the trick! And we can add those in too if it makes you feel comfortable. Often times you will find step by step instructions. Rules on what steps to do first. You may even find a few pictures of children seeing peacefully. However the key isn’t necessarily that sound machine on amazon or their favorite animal. While those items may play supporting roles the main character of the bedtime show is consistency!
That’s right consistency is the major key and main character in any bedtime routine. Now tips that would help may include limited naps; bath before bed; and that cute owl sound machine you seen the link to on some moms blog. But Consistency is the star!
Consistency could quite literally be a word used to define routine as routine is defined as a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. Consistency is conformity in the application of something. So if every night you are consistent with what you do for your little it starts to mold into conformity and builds a solid stable routine.
Now with that said make sure as the parent you are setting a good consistency instead of one that creates a negative or chaotic routine. Having a routine and being consistent about it isn’t enough if it isn’t helping you reach the goal easier. So for example:
If you place your child in bed then you get them milk, then a snack, then they holler and you come back each time it teaches them that hollering at bedtime gets consistent results of them getting attention and in turn allows them to stay up longer.
However if you feed them dinner and let them know that after dinner is over the kitchen is closed. No snacks at bedtime. Give them a bath. Read them a book. Make sure they use the potty before bed. Put them to bed and let them know no hollering at bedtime or we will be taking this away tomorrow. Then (and here is the key) stand firm on removing the item or activity you said you would take while not entertaining the hollering mama or daddy 50 times at bedtime; after a while they will learn that you are going to continue to take things they like if they continue to holler and they will eventually put an end to it to keep from losing more items. You must also stay consistent in the fact that bedtime isn’t playtime, snack time, potty time, question time or any other time besides purely laying down and resting your body and brain.
As I said before there are tips that help your child understand what is expected at bedtime or things that help them feel comfort. But some things also help you as a parent hold firm. I know when we first got our son on his bedtime schedule holding firm was one of the hardest parts. Especially if we forgot part of the bedtime routine, because we then felt like we needed to make it up to him and allow the part we forgot. So one of the biggest tips especially for parents who are just starting to get their child into routine is a bedtime checklist. This way you don’t forget the potty or book and they don’t remember there is a reason to get up 30 minutes later and remind you. You can easily make one on your own or download our easy minimal bedtime check list at the end of this post. It’s made simple for you to keep up with in the beginning stages of your routine.
Consistency is so very important in many parts of parenting so that your child’s brain will send your child’s body signals for when it is time for certain things throughout the day. For instance as adults when we start noticing the sun going down we start realizing it is late and often times ready to start winding down and even going to bed. The same things happen with our kids brains and their routines. When we stay consistent the actions of a bath and book can send signals to their brains that it’s time to wind down and get sleepy. These signals allow their body to start making its natural melatonin and help them rest easier.
It may take a week or two for your little to adjust to a new routine especially if they are in the midst of a chaotic one currently. When we finally made bedtime calm and routine it took Lucas about 2 weeks to fully adjust. It wasn’t easy starting out or sticking to it because we often wanted to give in just so he would stop yelling for us or whining for snacks we already told him to eat before bed. But sticking to it really helped us out and helped us get him to the finish line so that he can be better adjusted.
Like I said before there isn’t any one item you can buy on amazon that is the key to bedtime but some things do help certain kids feel safer or cozy in their own bed especially if you are like we were and at some point co-slept. Loved co-sleeping, didn’t so much like the transitioning him to his own bed. However the link below will redirect you to our amazon storefront which will show you a list of items Lucas loves during his bedtime routine many helped with the transition period of mama and daddy’s bed to his own bed fully through out the night! You can also find an idea list for books as well which are perfect to read to your little! Any purchases from the store front idea lists cost you nothing extra even though Amazon will pay us a percentage of your purchase. Again this is at no extra cost to you! Below you will also find our FREE Downloadable PDF for a cute but minimal bedtime routine checklist! You can download it as often as you need to and print off as many copies as needed.
Amazon Store Front Link: https://www.amazon.com/shop/brandeamiller