Baby Steps to Sweet Dreams
There’s nothing sweeter than capping off a long, active day with some special bonding between you and your baby. Fill your child’s bedtime routine with some simple, loving steps that will naturally build beautiful memories for the both of you, and hopefully make way for a peaceful night of sleep.
A nice warm bath is a wonderful ritual to kick off your bedtime routine. It offers Baby the chance to splash, play and get those last wiggles out of his system, but the water also provides a warm, calming environment that cues him it’s time to wind down. Engage your child with squirty bath toys or finger puppets to make the time together even more fun.
Get cozy with your cutie by snuggling him up in comfy pajamas and, if possible, throw on some of your favorite lounging clothes, too. The wardrobe change will put you in a relaxed frame of mind that will shine through to your child. A calm Mommy and Daddy lend themselves to encouraging a tranquil mood for Baby.
Let the Music Play
You’re constantly trying to get to know your baby, but let him into your world by sharing some of your favorite tunes. Music can be so soothing, so choose a playlist of mellow songs that you love and introduce him to the artists that he’s bound to hear for years to come. Sing along or hum the melodies to really put a smile on your child’s face.
It’s the perfect time to turn your child on to reading – while they’re still a captive audience! At this age, while they may be teething wildly, it’s probably best to stick with board books because your baby will inevitably start trying to chomp on the pages and those certainly hold up best to bite marks. Choose books with lots of color that have an almost sing-songy rhythm to them to help lull your child into a sleepy state.
The quiet of the evening is a nice time to sit with your baby and go through family photos, pointing out familiar faces and reconnecting your child with relatives that she may not get the chance to see very often. You’ll be sharing a part of your history with her and she’ll enjoy looking at all of the smiling faces. It’s a tender touch to add to the bedtime routine.
Find a cozy spot, like a glider or rocking chair if possible, where you can read to baby or simply cuddle while you prepare him for a night’s rest. Rocking will pacify the both of you. You might be swaying to settle your child down, but it can’t help but provide you with a little bit of peace after a long, hard day, too. If neither is an option, simply find a comfy chair where you can curl up and make that your relaxing spot with Baby where he knows he can go to calm down, whether before a nap or before bedtime.
Whether you purely wish your baby a good night or have your own unique catchphrase for her, uttering the same words each and every night at bedtime offers a reassuring touch of familiarity. These words strengthen your bond and quietly let your baby know that you’re always there for her.
Whenever possible, don’t rush through the bedtime routine. Take your time and enjoy these precious moments with this incredibly important person. Children don’t stay small forever and you’ll be happy to have these significant memories of holding and snuggling with your baby in the years to come. Try to set aside whatever craziness the day held and make this time only about you and your family.