You’ve made it through a fun day, dinner, and even bathtime. But now…well, now the moment of truth has come. The clock is ticking, later and later, but your little shows no signs of wanting to go to bed. And yet, it’s time.
You start running through the options in your mind. If you let her keep playing, she’ll eventually wear herself out and possibly fall asleep on the couch. Or rocking in your arms. It could work, you think.
But the problem is that while it may work tonight, it won’t work every night. And each time you do it, you’re cementing unhealthy bedtime habits in your child’s mind. There’s a better way, and you’re not alone!
The 2 Bedtime Tips Every Parent Needs To Know
While having a child who goes to sleep well and stays in bed is a process that can feel overwhelming when you try to navigate it on your own, there are two tips to keep in mind:
- Have a consistent bedtime routine
- Let them fall asleep in their beds
Truly these two tips are foundational to healthy, pain free bedtimes.
Why Does A Consistent Bedtime Routine Matter?
Everyone likes a predictable routine: first this, then that, followed by the other. You know what to expect, there are no surprises, and everything goes as planned.
Bedtime can be just like that, too, when you take the time to create a routine that your child can depend on.
Bedtimes aren’t meant to be elaborate or complex; they are a simple way to cue your child’s mind and body that it’s time to settle down and sleep is imminent. Bedtime routines should last about 20 minutes and may include brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, a bedtime story, and a lullaby.
They oughtn’t include anything rambunctious or stimulating, but instead provide the necessary transition from an active day to a peaceful bedtime.
And when that routine is consistent, they know what to expect each and every night which will help you both enjoy bedtime a lot more.
Why Do They Need To Fall Asleep In Bed?
Oh mama, I hear you. There’s little more precious than holding your sweet, sleeping child.
But if you want her to stay asleep and sleep well all night long? Well, that’s going to be trickier if she is relying on you for rest. Also, you can’t do it every night indefinitely (remember, routine is important!).
Once your child learns to fall asleep on her own, then when she wakes up during the night she will be able to go back to sleep without crying for you, needing help, and so on. Independent sleep is a valuable life skill that she will need to learn eventually, and the earlier it happens the healthier her body, mind, and emotions will be because sleep is essential for development.
When Bedtime Is Hard
You might be thinking your little one isn’t just miraculously going to go to bed without you nursing her to sleep or rocking her in your arms because some person on the internet tells you that’s what needs to happen. And you’d be right.
It’s not a routine yet. But it will be, in time. You can start tonight.
And if that scares you or overwhelms you, reach out. We have a whole team of sleep consultants at the ready to help walk you through this season in a way that doesn’t leave either one of you emotionally exhausted, frustrated, or ready to give up.