Tuesday, May 7, 2013
I have been told by many moms that apparently I have a good bedtime routine. Since Xavier is my first child (and only for the moment) I really had not paid too much attention to his sleep routine. Other then the fact that I knew a good sleep routine was important. So after talking and reading and finding some parenting tips online and in mommy groups, here is some helpful tips for getting your little one to sleep. At least for the first year of their life.
Tips for a good Sleep Routine
1) Start when your child is little (if possible). I started Xavier's when he was about a month old. I paid attention to his patterns. He started falling asleep at nine o'clock every night during the first month. So at first I made nine o'clock his routine. We would first do bath time, then, I would lotion him up and put him in a fresh pair of pajamas. Next we would rock in the chair and read a story together and then bottle/breastfeed then, bed. I would kiss him, put him down and start his sleep sheep (see Review: Cloud B Sleep Sheep).
2) Continue the routine for the first year even if you have to make adjustments. What I mean by this is do as much of the routine as possible. For instance, anytime Xavier goes to sleep either for bed or for a nap we do this routine. Of course, he does not get a bath every time and now that he is older we do not give him a bottle, but we always lotion him, put him in pajamas (though not for a nap) and read a book together in the rocking chair. For nap times right now all we do is read a story and then I put him in his crib.
3) Know when to step in. I would be lying if I said that this is always perfect. We have our nights when he is over tired and does not go down as easily or when he is teething and unhappy. It is alright if you have a rough night here and there it happens with children. However, you are doing it right if the majority of the time your child goes to sleep without a hassle. My personal rule with Xavier is for bedtime if he cries really hard, I go in and rock him, but if it is just a whiny "I don't want to go to bed cry" I time him. Which means I look at the clock when he first cries the whiny cry. If in ten minutes he is still whining/crying I go and rock him. Most of the time he falls asleep on his own. The timing helps you. It is hard to hear your child cry even if you know they are fine. So timing it helps because even a minute seems like forever, but if you keep in mind it has only been ten minutes of light crying you will make it through.
4) Stick to the time. No moving the bedtime. I only moved Xavier's after his first month. He is now at eight o'clock at night. Every night he goes to bed between 7:30pm and 8:00pm. No exceptions. There are some nights you have to try to keep them up until that time and others when he seems so happy to be up but we still put him to bed at the same time no matter what. That way he is used to the routine.
5) Have a time limit with naps. I enforce what I like to call "resting times". I basically now just read Xavier a book and put him in his crib. If, in an hour he is still awake I take him out. I figure he has had "rest time". Of course he is much happier if he naps but instead of fighting we just do the "rest time". If he is sleeping I never wake him up so this is only if he is still awake.
Sleeping is a very important part of the day for children especially babies. They need a good 17 to 14 hours a day. It is important because children grow in their sleep so make sure you little one gets plenty of sleep and I hope these tips will help you to establish a great sleep routine.