Today I answer common questions about the bedtime routine. If you have not read 3 Parts to a Short & Sweet Bedtime Routine, make sure to read that first. Here are some additional tips about how to make your routine woks for your child.
At what time do we start the do routine?
We talked about the routine lasting 20-30 min. Think about when your kiddo usually falls asleep and start the bedtime routine 20-30 min earlier. We start the routine so that they are ready to sleep by the end of the routine. In other words, we don’t wait for your kiddo to look really tired to start the routine.
Where do we do the routine?
Do the routine in the room where the child sleeps. Your routine may start in the bathroom, but move to the bedroom as early as possible in the routine.
Do I need to do bath every night?
You don’t have to include a bath as part of your routine. But many families start their routine with a bath because they have found that it helps their child goes to sleep. And there’s a good reason for that. During a bath, our body temperature slightly increases. Then when we get out of the bath, our temperature decreases. And that slight decrease in temperature is exactly what happens to our body when we are about to fall asleep. So when we come out of a bath with an elevated temperature, we initiate that decrease in temperature (by coming out of the bath), which can help your kiddo feel sleepy.
Having said that, taking a bath is not helpful for every kiddo. For some, it’s extremely stimulating and it makes it harder for them to fall asleep afterwards. For other kids with skin issues, being in the water every night may cause some issues. So if taking a bath helps your kiddo go to sleep, then keep it in your routine. And if it’s not beneficial, then skip it!
Do I need to read the same books every night?
When you first introduce the routine, read the same book(s) every night for a few nights. Once the routine is established, you can start to rotate books and read different ones every night. Another variation if you read multiple books is to finish with the same book. Let’s say you read 3 short books at bedtime. You can change the first 2 and always read the same third/last book.
Build some time to talk at bedtime (once your child can talk!)
If your child is older, you can finish your routine with turning off the light and talking for a few minutes. Have a consistent “format” for that time: you can ask them the same 3 questions every night, or you can tell them 3 things you noticed about them today. You could both share your rose (something you enjoyed during the day), thorn (something that was hard or you did not like) and bud (something you are looking forward to for tomorrow) for the day. Make sure to share yours too! This is when I get the “juiciest” details about my kids. They are relaxed in bed and have our attention and open up!
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