Do you follow a baby bedtime routine? I remember our pediatrician telling us to start one with Izzy when she was only an infant. I thought to myself, does Izzy really know the difference? Why do we need a bedtime routine? She is too young! Now that she is older we’ve come to realize and understand just how important a good bedtime routine is! Our daughter thrives on structure and routine. We’ve also noticed our son sleeps better when we follow a routine. There are some nights where I think “Ugh just get them to bed as soon as possible! Let’s skip the book.” It sounds crazy, but I really think it messes up their flow and sleep schedule when we skip parts of bedtime.
As the parent you can set the tone before bedtime and help children sleep sweetly and peacefully by establishing a baby bedtime routine. Today I’m sharing my favorite tips for peaceful sleep and ways to encourage sweet dreams in your children.
Baby Bedtime Routine + 5 Tips for Peaceful Sleep
- Start Early: I sometimes feel overwhelmed when I read parenting books, but one piece of advice most parenting experts give is to start a bedtime routine at an early age. I wholeheartedly agree with this. We started when Izzy and IJ were around 3-4 months old. It’s so much easier to establish boundaries and routines when children are young. Humans love consistency. We are creatures of habit and a bedtime routine is a great habit to start with your baby. It signals to your baby’s brain that it is time to go to bed. Our son’s routine isn’t long, but we feel it’s effective. At 6:45-7 PM he has his last nursing session, then he gets pajamas on, we read a story, we pray and then we put him in his crib.
- Read a Story: When we read a bedtime story to our son, we notice he starts to calm down and relax. It’s a great way for him to unwind after a busy day of crawling and scooting. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends early literacy development for children beginning in infancy. It’s never too early to start reading. As your child gets older and is able to understand more of the text, choose books that promote healthy sleeping habits. We love God is Watching Over You by P.J. Lyons because it promotes peaceful, restful sleep. The book details a precious lamb’s bedtime routine and the story reminds children how God is always there. Our daughter loves finishing the line and stating “God is Watching Over You.” There is power in our words and I think this book is a great reminder to children who may struggle with nightmares, bad dreams or wanting mommy and daddy in the middle of the night. Definitely check it out, it is one of our favorite bedtime stories.
- Pray: Before our daughter was born I memorized Psalm 121 and I’m so glad I did! As a new mom I was fearful of SIDS and I sometimes worried, causing everyone to lose sleep in our house. Now that our daughter is older she is becoming more aware of “scary” things and what the word “scary” means. It’s so important to pray with our children before bed. We can pray for sweet dreams (You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly, Proverbs 3:24) and remind them that God is always watching over them (He never sleeps nor slumbers, Psalm 121). We have been praying with our two year old since birth and it’s a wonderful part of our nightly routine.
- Sing: We just recently added this to our nighttime routine. We swap babysitting time with another family at our church and they always sing before bedtime. Our daughter LOVED this part of their routine and now asks for a song before she sleeps. There is definitely something to this! Researchers believe lullabies really do send babies to sleep and reduce pain in babies. So why not sing a sweet lullaby before your baby drifts off to sleep? It certainly can’t hurt.
- Consider the Sleep Environment: I love that our baby monitors display the temperature in our children’s rooms. This helps me determine how to dress our kids for bed. Sleep experts recommend the ideal temperature for a baby’s sleep environment be between 65 and 70 degrees fahrenheit. This will prevent overheating and the child from becoming too cold. Don’t constantly worry about the temperature, but consider it when wishing for night of peaceful sleep. Also consider a fan for background noise and better ventilation. Did you know a fan during sleep lowers SIDS risk by 72 percent? Older babies or toddlers may also feel safer when you introduce a lovey or security blanket. When they wake up at night they can cuddle it closer and feel safe without waking you. Creating an ideal sleep environment will help your baby and you sleep sweeter.
What does your baby bedtime routine look like?
Disclosure: We received God is Watching Over You free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are 100% my own.