A night routine was one of the most important things we implemented
For the first few months of life with a new baby, nothing is routine.
Night wake ups at all hours, sleeping whenever and wherever, feeds in between and a bit of play time thrown in as well.
As a first time Mum, I was just surviving those early months, figuring it out as I went along. A routine was so far from my mind.
Then something changed in me when Levi was about 6 months old. Suddenly I craved structure and thought he needed more of a schedule as well.
I still have a day and night routine for Levi.
During the day it’s slightly more flexible with eating times, but nap times are set in stone. At night the whole routine is is rigid.
Babies and children crave routine and a night routine is the most important one.
It gets them ready for bed and because it’s the same every night, they know what’s coming and can prepare themselves to sleep.
It should be calming and relaxing and what you choose to do, is up to you.
Our night routine starts at 5pm when we give Levi dinner. That takes about half an hour to 40 minutes depending on how much entertaining needs to be done and encouragement to get him to eat.
Then Levi has a bath for 5 to 10 minutes and he brushes his teeth.
After that we moisturise to prevent dry skin and it doubles as a massage. I’m not sure how relaxing it is anymore because it’s harder to do keep Levi still. He’s way more keen to sit up and is a bit of a wriggler.
The we put on his pyjamas, he says goodnight to his Dad and I sit in the rocking chair and get ready to read three stories. By now it’s around 6pm.
As a side note, I put the books behind my back when I sit on the chair so Levi can focus on one at a time and when I’m done with one, he’s looking behind me for the next one.
These children are smart and know what’s coming next.
After bedtime stories, I zip Levi up in his sleep suit. We’ve used them since he was born and it’s now a sleep association for him. Levi gets a cuddle and lay him down to sleep. I leave him in his cot awake, with the door ajar and he puts himself to sleep. It talks anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour where he’s crying a little, talking to himself and rolling around the cot. We engaged a sleep consultant to help Levi learn to self settle and I’ll be writing all about that experience soon.
I hate messing with Levi’s night routine. If we don’t follow it, it’s be harder for him to settle and he’ll have a terrible sleep. It then snowballs to a terrible day and we get a cranky toddler. I know he’ll just feel out of whack so while on the outside it looks like I’m being regimented, I just know we’re on to a good thing ... for all of us.
Have you implemented a night time routine? I’d love to hear what you do.