Hey Birdies! We’re going to help you (hopefully) create a nighttime routine that’s going to help your newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers sleep better and get to sleep faster. Creating a bedtime routine can help establish healthy sleep habits and ensure a peaceful night for both YOU and your little Birdie.
Let’s jump right into some tips to get started creating a nighttime routine for your kids.
How to Create a Bedtime Routine for Babies & Toddlers
We believe it’s never too early to establish a nighttime routine, but we want to remind you to be patient with yourself and your babies. You might not be able to complete your routine every night, and there are going to be plenty of nights where your nighttime routine does not result in the perfect night's sleep, but it should help you and your baby bond, have quiet time together and get into the habit of better sleep.
Start with a consistent schedule
Or as consistent as you can be! This tip can be especially hard with a newborn, they’re on their own schedule most of the time. But try to stick to a consistent schedule to help kids start getting sleepy at the right times. And yup, even on the weekends! This really will help your kids get into the habit of knowing when it’s bedtime.
Give a bath
You should definitely incorporate bath time in your bedtime routine. Having a bath at night provides your babies and toddlers with so many benefits. It’s also just a really beautiful bonding time.
Some of the benefits of nighttime baths include:
- Sensory stimulation - this will come from everything from the bathwater and different water temperatures to being touched while you wash and dry. Touching and gently rubbing their skin can lower heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature! It can also stimulate pressure responders that induce relaxation. All of these things can lead to better sleep – how many times have you felt like you could instantly crawl into bed after a bath?!
- It also creates a bonding opportunity, especially if you’re skin-to-skin or co-bathing. Usually, it’s a quiet time without screens or other people running around, and creates a time for you to be together.
- Lastly, it’s a fun way to introduce language and play! Use words like bubbles, water, wash, dripping, and slippery, and also make sure to have fun – encouraging them to splash and enjoy the water.
Make pajamas fun
We all know the battle of getting into pajamas – whether with a newborn or toddler, they seem to know right away that pajamas = bedtime and separation from you. To combat this, make pajamas fun. Allow your toddlers to pick their pajamas and be in control of the prints and styles that they like.
Also, make sure you’re always using comfortable pajamas, we recommend bamboo for a lot of reasons, but mostly because bamboo is really safe on your Birdies skin. Meaning no itchy, scratchy nights, no harsh chemicals and it’s a very soothing fabric for eczema.
Here are some tips to help PJs be more fun:
- Always dress your baby in light, soft, breathable pajamas - like Birdie Bean!
- Make sure the space isn’t too cold. Lay down a towel, use a wipe warmer, or keep your Birdie covered up top while you change their diaper. Being cold can often trigger emotions that will ruin that calm you just achieved with bathtime, so make sure you’re always doing pajamas in a warm environment.
- Move slowly and narrate what you’re doing for your baby. Your voice will help sooth them.
- Play the body part game. Name, kiss, or point to different body parts together
- Keep a special toy – or better yet, a Birdie Bean Lovey - just for this time. It’ll give them something to be excited about.
- When you’re putting toddlers and older children to bed, make sure to let them be involved. They can hand you a wipe, hold the diaper or be a part of the decision on what jammies to wear.
- Give them choices! Again, for toddlers, you can give some power back to them by allowing them to pick out their pajamas (we recommend doing this with two options only – trust us!)
- Do it standing! Some babies and children dislike the feeling of laying flat to be changed. If your child can sit or stand, changing them upright can be less stimulating.
Create a calm and comfortable environment
This goes for all kids, from newborns to preschoolers. Make sure to create a cozy, comfortable, and calm environment for them to sleep in. We recommend making sure the room is dark, cool, and quiet. With Birdie Bean bamboo pajamas, you don’t have to worry about your Birdies getting cold at night because bamboo is designed to help regulate their body temperature all night long.
You can also consider using a white noise machine to create a soothing background sound.
Have you heard that parents who read one picture book with their children every day will expose them to around 78,000 words a year!? Exposing your young baby to books and vocabulary can have a huge positive impact once they enter school. Remember, even if they don’t seem interested, they’ll be more prepared to see and learn to read those words in print.
Reading a book together has so many other benefits. It adds to the special time you’ve created connecting with your baby or child every night. It will give you opportunities to discuss topics like feelings, emotions, different cultures, and faraway places.
When it comes to your bedtime routine though, it’ll give your babies and kids something to look forward to at bedtime. They’ll be less likely to fight with you and get into bed if they know that once they're in bed you’re going to read to them. You can also let them help you pick out the book, as long as they agree to snuggle into bed while you read it.
The best books to choose from are the ones that you love to read. When you enjoy yourself, your baby or toddler is more likely to enjoy it too. Here’s a good breakdown to follow if you’re stuck on what to choose:
- 0-3 months; high-contrast, black-and-white books
- 4-6 months: tactile books or books with baby's faces
- 6-12 months: simple rhyming/ picture board books
- Toddlers: picture books, bedtime stories, books they’re interested in
Remember to allow yourself to be silly and create a fun time with your little one. You can use silly voices, whisper or talk in a loud voice to bring characters to life. You can also get your kids involved by inviting them to look at the pictures and discuss, for example, “It looks like that dog is happy, I wonder why?”
You can also simply ask your kids what they see, or if something in the story makes them think about what they’ve done in their own life. When you make time for storytime each night, it’ll become an activity that helps your kids be excited to get into bed.
As your child grows, their bedtime routine may change. But it’s important to create a routine that promotes good sleep habits and a peaceful night’s rest! It’s never too early or late to start creating a bedtime routine for your family.
Just remember to be flexible and adjust the routine as needed to fit your child’s needs. With a consistent bedtime routine in place, both you and your Birdie will be able to get the sleep needed for a happy and healthy life!
Create the ultimate bedtime routine with Birdie Bean. Shop our fun, comfortable and unique prints to make bedtime more exciting. And remember, choosing bamboo means choosing a fabric that is safe for your baby's skin, breathable, and free from harsh chemicals. Choosing bamboo is always a good idea.
What’s something you do with your Birdies every night? Hang out and join the chat over on Instagram (@birdiebeanbaby). We love getting to know you more over there.