Bed time is the most important and talked about part of being a parent. Bed time means, (for me) a chance to clean up without a little monkey running behind me uncleaning everything! A chance to sit with a glass of wine unwind with a good show or spend some much needed time with my husband! But not everyone has that chance because their little ones don’t want to sleep through the night yet.
I know every child is different and every parent is different but this is my advice.It worked for me, both my kids started sleeping through the night starting at 3 months old.
Picture bed time like a sweet sundae you slowly build all day to finally enjoy when those kids are sleeping. You need to start with a base, two scoops of ice cream. The ice cream being activity and routine. If there is one thing you do to help them sleep it should be ROUTINE! Children thrive on a routine! Try to do the same thing every night at the same time, that way they will know what is coming. Our routine takes about 30-45 mins every night starting at either 7:30 or 8 depends on when she had her nap. If she refused to have a nap that day it can some times start at 7. Both our girls participate however our baby doesn’t always go right to bed like our toddler because she needs to nurse and have some quiet time with mom.
Activity is always important but it is great to wear them out! Play with them teach them, keep their mind and bodies active all day! My husband and I find it hilarious how our toddler can run circles around us, laughing, yelling, and screaming without ever being out of breathe or looking tired at all! I know it is so much easier to give them our phones or ipads or sit them in front of the TV to entertain them to get something done but children are easily entertained, give them some play dough or a colourful book or for our toddler just putting music on and letting her dance will entertain her enough to give me at least ten minutes to get something done. (you will find it amazing what you get get done in ten minutes with free hands when you are a parent) And this way you are encouraging brain activity and giving them a brighter future! They are an endless pit of energy let them use it!
This is important for babies too! They are growing so fast and that will wear them out but encourage it a little more for the longer sleeps with activity! They play different. For newborns just smiling at them and talking to them keeps their minds active. Tickle their tummies feet and hands. As they get older move their legs and their arms show them their toys. To help them develop I looked up some exercise videos to do with our baby. For example at 2 months I searched exercises to do with my 2 month old. Baby centre is always my go to website! Here is an awesome Month by month activity list for our babies. I also try to keep napping to a minimal. Little babies need LOTS of sleep but the longer they are up the longer they will sleep at a time. And when they do have naps I put them down! Not every time because let’s be honest those snuggles are the sweetest thing ever! But if they are used to sleeping in someones arms every time they will never want to be put down! This may be a bit mean but at times I would even resort to waking them up if they were trying to sleep too close to bed time. Some times there is no waking them up so you leave them but other times they are just soothed and comfy and fall asleep. Those short ten minute naps could push bed time back hours. Now I know it can be so nice when they sleep during the day but the tough stages are a very short time in their life! You will have lots of time to clean your house later. Right now enjoy watching your baby develop and listening to them laugh and seeing them smile those are the greatest joys in life!
So now we have the base, activity and routine. Now we need the extras, the toppings. Here are my top 10 favourite extras we do every night.
1: Put your toys away! Teach them the importance of cleaning up after themselves right away! Even if they can not help having them sit with you while you clean teaches them by your example! Then as they get older they will want to help and be involved, encourage it!
2: Bath Always a fun time! I do not wash them with soap every night for the same reason I do not wash my hair every day. Their natural oils are good for them. But they are both teething so wiping away the drool that collects in their necks is always nice. I do put a few drops of lavender oil in the water every night and lots of toys to let them play. Splash laugh and have a great time! Once a week we do a bubble bath. We do not do it every time because I have two girls I do not want them to get bladder infections. I also use Honest’s bubble bath to help prevent that. They are my go to company because ALL their products are natural and safe for my kids!
3: Fresh diapers a rub down with my homemade bedtime body oil and fresh PJ’s. My girls love this step! They get some tickles and laughs and then we relax with a little massage with my two step body oil. So simple! You take a couple cups of coconut oil put it in a bowl add about 30 drops of lavender essential oils whip it together with a hand mixer, put in a jar and enjoy! I rub it on their hands and massage them a little same with their feet. Then we put on some fresh cozy PJ’s and off to get their bottle.
4: Warm bottle of milk. My husband and her love to get her bottle together. She loves it so much because he lets her do most of it, opening the fridge, grabbing the milk, opening the milk, helping her pour it, pushing the buttons to warm it, putting the milk away and closing the fridge. She feels involved and something so simple to us is a blast for her!
5: Hugs and kisses and I love you! I used to give her her bottle while rocking her in her rocking chair but now she feels independent and likes us to give it to her in her bed and leave. (it was a sad day for me when this started, I loved that time with her but it was something she did on her own.) So now we all go to her room get her all cozied in bed, say a prayer and then she gives everyone, including her baby sister, a hug and a kiss says bye bye and I love you and it is lights out.
A few more. It wasn’t always so easy. We used to do a few more things before bed. Here are a few extras to do with them:
6: Read them a few books.
7: Play soft music in the background. You can do this the whole time starting from in the bath until they are asleep. Our toddler loved piano music! It would be the only thing that worked at times!
8: Sing them a song.
9: Rock them gently. Do not be against this it can be tiring at times but that is what they are used to in your belly it calms them and the calmer they are the more likely they are to sleep. and enjoy knowing that you holding them and hearing your heat beat is the one thing in the world they need. It is such a short time they want that and when it is over you will miss it, feeling needed and wanted like that!
and finally the cherry on top, they are sleeping! Go enjoy your “me time!”
I do not guarantee these WILL work but they just might help! Test them our for yourself! Or do some more research maybe there are other things that will help your little one! Hopefully they will be sleeping more during the night giving you some extra sleep!