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Why is a bedtime routine so important?

bedtime routine, baby book, bath, baby cot, baby sleep tips

A bedtime routine isn’t just a series of steps before your little one goes to sleep - it’s a secret weapon every parent should be using. It's the first step we should all be taking to help our baby to sleep better. It’s known to promote sleep and help us parents too, but what makes this nightly ritual so beneficial,  and how can we make it work best for your family.  Let’s dive into a bedtime routine and set the stage for sleep filled nights and happier mornings. #goals

What is a bedtime routine?

A bedtime routine works like magic. It’s a positive and familiar sequence of events that signal to your child it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep. To work, it needs to be predictable, short and reassuring.

When to start a bedtime routine?

There is no perfect answer to this question, every family is different. I would consider it never too early to start a bedtime routine. Even newborns can benefit, just keep it short and simple. As your child gets older, just adjust the routine to meet their changing needs. Ps. It’s also never too late! Big kids benefit from a routine just as much.

Does A Bedtime Routine Really Matter?

Life is busy for your little one, a bedtime routine helps your child, of any age,  transition from go-go-go to feel calmer, more relaxed and ready to sleep. Without it, it’s pretty unrealistic to expect our kids to fall asleep on time as they have to learn to wind down by themselves (and that’s a big ask for our little people).

What Does A Bedtime Routine Involve?

You will have all heard about the 3 B’s; Bath, Book, Bed. Remembering these three simple elements helps you avoid over complicating it. For some families adding in a massage or a song adds a personalised touch. No matter what you choose, the key to success is to be consistent with your family’s routine.

One tip from the expert- Make sure you stick to your boundaries – one book, one song and a short bath. Toddlers are famous for stalling bedtime with demands and defiance!

Is your bedtime routine helping? Where People Go Wrong

A recent research study found children offered a predictable bedtime routine fall asleep faster, had less problematic sleep, slept longer and mums were happier! 💃

(Mindell, Telofski, Kurtz, 2009. “A nightly bedtime routine: Impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood).

It’s a no brainer to introduce a nightly routine but watch out, sometimes parents can unknowingly sabotage the effectiveness of a bedtime routine. I commonly see a routine stretching out too long, leaving an already tired child feeling restless and over stimulated. Another mistake is having a formal, rigid routine ‘because the book says to’ and not taking into account the individual needs of your child and family situation. For many busy parents, a bedtime routine becomes stressful and aggravated. In this situation I would assume the bedtime routine started too late and/or is going on too long.

To make life easier, here’s a list of the do’s and don'ts to keep in mind

Do’s and Don’ts...

· Keep it short. (Max 20-30minutes)

· Keep it calm. (It should be enjoyable and full of connection)

· Time it right. (Leave enough time in your evening to get it right, an already tired child won’t need a long, drawn out routine)

· Try not to feed to sleep. (unless that is working for you)

· Read a book, sing a lullaby but don’t get caught up in demands for more!

· Be repetitive, predictable and boring... it will help soothe and calm them quicker!

In conclusion, a bedtime routine is a powerful tool in building healthy sleep habits. But it is important to recognise that it is one pice of the puzzle and is unlikely to fix all of your sleep issues. If you’re struggling with bedtime battles it can be a great starting point. For more expert tips on bedtime routines, navigating sleep regressions, nap transition and much more continue reading my blog, follow me on instagram or book in a consultation.

And don’t forget how valuable The Gentle Sleep Tribe is; mums inside the Tribe have loved the practical tips and simple strategies. It’s a place to build your confidence and help keep you on track for every sleep milestone ahead. Find out more here ⬇️

Sydney sleep consultant, Tessa Gow, enhance sleep solutions

Sleep deprivation is torture. Tessa Gow is a midwife and certified sleep consultant working with families across the globe. She offers nurturing methods with lasting results. Let her be the support and guidance you need to get through this. On the other side of a consultation with Enhance Sleep is rested, functioning families. Take the first step towards healthy sleep by contacting me today.


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