|Night-time Rituals For
Bonding And Sleep
by SARA AHMAD
Whoever coined the term 'sleeping like a baby' probably never actually had one. Any parent who has spent sleepless nights constantly running in to soothe a grumpy infant can attest to the fact that getting a baby to sleep can be the furthest thing from a fun family moment. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. If you establish a solid night-time ritual, you will soon find bedtime with baby a rewarding bonding experience. Here's everything you need to know about how to say, "good night: to your child and actually have that wish come true.
Starting A Routine
Although your actual bedtime routine will begin in the early evening, in truth you prepare a child for a good night's sleep from the moment she wakes up. Children need stimulating days to have restful nights. For an infant this can be tummy time, and for a toddler it can be any type of safe play. And just as important, you must make sure that your child spends her day feeling loved and respected. For children to fall sleep, they need to feel the safety of both the routine and the parent's connection.
30-Minutes Before Bedtime
Now it's time to start your routine. 30 minutes before bed, do the following:
Dim the lights, this will work on the body's natural melatonin cycle and send signals to the baby's brain that it's bedtime. No more roughhousing or other stimulating activities. Focus on quiet, calming movements and activities. Nothing relaxes a baby after a long day of crawling and spitting up like a nice, warm bath. It's also a wonderful bonding activity! Wrap your baby comfortably in a blanket makes your child feel warm and secure. Once your baby has been settled, and is comfy and clean, it is then time to read to your child or sing her a relaxing song.
Bedtime! The Moment Of Truth
It is now time to place the baby in her crib. The most important part of this step is that if your baby falls asleep in your arms, you must wake her up as you set her in the bed. This allows the baby to take 10 seconds to learn to put herself to sleep. This is crucial to teaching your child to soothe herself should she (and she will!) wake up periodically throughout the night.
With a bit of diligence, you'll create the perfect night-time routine for you and your baby. Please keep in mind that every routine should be personalised. Some kids actually don't like being swaddled. Others must hear their favourite story every night. Also, for parents who must work late, do not push your baby's bedtime back in order to spend more time with her. There is no better way to be there for your child than by giving her the loving comfort of a good night-time ritual.