As adults, many of us have discovered that we need plenty of winding down time before we go to bed. If we jump into bed immediately after working on a stressful project for example, it’s inevitable that our minds will be still working on that project for a good hour before switching off and allowing us to sleep.
Many of us switch off by watching some TV, having a drink, reading a book etc. and often this pre-bed ritual will be consistent each night. We also tend to go to sleep at roughly the same time each night.
Babies need a great deal more sleep than adults and their pre-bed routines play an even greater role in developing healthy sleeping habits than our own. It’s important that these pre-bed routines are consistent and that they are established from a young age.
Your baby’s pre-bed routine may include a bath, a story, a lullaby CD, a massage, a cuddle and a feed. When developing your baby’s routine you should consider the following two questions:
– Is the routine relaxing? For babies, the level of sensory stimulation that
results from being picked up, passed around and played with cannot be
underestimated. Therefore, it’s important that babies are given plenty of quiet time before bed. During this quiet time, the level of sensory stimulation should be kept to a bare minimum. This includes visual, auditory and tactile stimulation.
-Is it practical? Consistency is absolutely paramount in establishing good sleeping habits. You should ensure your pre-bed routine is practical so that it can be performed every night. It’s also important for the routine to be performed at roughly the same time each night as babies love predictability and stability. Obviously, to a certain degree your family circumstances will dictate the level of consistency that’s possible to achieve but you should strive to make your baby’s pre-bed routine as predictable and stable as possible.
About the Author: Rich Jenkinson holds an honours degree in Biology and a diploma in music. Since graduating from the University Of Manchester, Rich has worked as a professional musician, taught in schools and launched Lullaby Babies; the UK-based children’s music company and online retailer of gifts for babies.
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