Developing Realistic Bedtime Routines – Newborn to Toddler

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Developing fail-proof, realistic bedtime routines isn’t hard but it does take a little time and persistence on your part to make it happen. If you’re looking for how to get your newborn to toddler-aged child to sleep better, these simple tips can help! 

Parents all over the world have this same thought and question as you. “When in the world should my child be going to sleep?” And while there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” answer for every child, there are various steps and routines that you can take to help your child have a nice routine for bedtime.


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When should you start your baby on a sleep schedule?

This is truly a great question. Your baby needs to be on some sort of schedule starting at a young age. Now, you can’t expect it to happen right when they are born, but what you can do is start setting up a schedule for yourself and watch as they get used to it too. You’ll be amazed that even at a young age, your child can get used to your schedule and adjust easily with it.


Bedtime routines for newborns

Did you know that it’s possible to help to get your newborn on a schedule this early in their life? Now it might not be the type of schedule that you’re used to but there is a way to make it happen. And truth be told, your newborn is going to rely on you 100% perfect to set and keep up with the schedule.

Tips for creating a newborn sleep schedule:

1. Sing songs and speak smoothly to your baby right before bedtime

Even though your newborn might not fully understand the difference between night and day in the beginning, they do know your voice and smell. Simply by picking them up and singing to them, you can give them a calm peace that helps to put them to sleep.


2. Only rock them when you’re getting them ready for bed

Believe it or not, your newborn baby can start to pick up on cues at a very early age. And while you might be tempted to hold them and rock them forever and always, restrain from it if at all possible. 

Instead, use your rocking chair only during the times that you’re wanting to get them ready and prepared for bed. What this will then start to trigger in their mind is that when they feel that rocking, they’ll know that it’s time to get ready to sleep.

Parents also tend to do this with pacing and walking as well, which is also a good option. The same set of logic applies to this as the rocking does.


3. Adjust your routine and schedule as needed

No matter what you try when it comes to getting your newborn on a schedule, just know that you have the ability to alter the routine as need be. If your newborn isn’t showing signs of adjusting to how you’re creating a bedtime routine, just alter the plan a bit and try again. 

If you do this type of trial and error at a young age, your child will be better off because you’ll know what works for them and helps them adjust to sleeping better.

Check out the Sleep Easy Solution – For Sleep Training from Birth to Age 5!

Bedtime routines for a baby under the age of 1

Even though we just discussed the possibility of setting up a bedtime routine for newborns, there is always a slight chance that your routine may not stick or work. All that means is that you wait a while and start again once they get close to the age of 1.

Tips for creating a sleep schedule for babies under 1:

1. Communicate with the same words nightly about bedtime to your child

Even if your child isn’t speaking yet, they’ll start to understand and associate words with certain meanings. When it gets close to bedtime, tell your child verbally that it’s about to happen. Use the same calm tone and words each and every night to let them know what to expect. After several nights and weeks of this, they’ll start to understand what your words and tones mean. 

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2. Give your little one a warm bath before bed every single night

If you’re able to run a bath and get your child warm and relaxed, this is a wonderful way to start the bedtime routine every single night. And if you’re able to do this consistently each night, your child will understand and relate a bath to settling down and getting ready to sleep.

There’s also something very calming about running a bath and getting your child clean and snuggled down for the evening. (Plus, they smell so good right after a bath!)


Bedtime routines for toddlers

How do you tire a toddler before bed?

This is the million-dollar question! And honestly, it’s one that you need to look at as a big picture instead of in small segments. Toddlers have a ton of energy, this is no joke at all. Instead of looking at it like it’s a bad thing, instead, embrace it and figure out ways that you can set up and help schedule their day to get them to sleep better at night.

What this means for you is that you need to start thinking more about activities to do during the day that can then help to wear them out and help them sleep at night. Once you combine that with a solid bedtime routine and schedule, they’ll be sleeping through the night in no time at all!

One thing is for certain, every single child is different. This post not only talks about that but also breaks it down by age about how bedtime routines can be beneficial.

As stated earlier, toddlers have a crazy amount of energy. Every single day when they wake up, it’s like they’re wired for the day! Making certain to keep them active during the day is just one of the ways to get them primed and ready for bed. The more that you can have fun with them and have them engaged and playing, the more energy that they’ll burn to be able to go to sleep.


Tips for creating a sleep schedule for toddlers

1. Turn off lights and electronics about 30 minutes before bedtime

Light and electronics don’t do anything but stimulate the eyes and tell our brains to “wake up!” With this being the case, it’s imperative to make certain that the lighting in your home is set at a dimmed or “off” status when it’s time to start winding down your toddler for sleep. Not only that, but turn off tablets, TV’s or any other electronics as well because those don’t do anything but cause your little one to zone in and lose all focus on getting to sleep. 

To avoid electronics, while still keeping them busy, reading books is a great alternative. You can make it apart of your routine to read books together before bed, or they can just read them on their own while they have “quiet time” before bed.

2. Lay down with your child and help them to relax

Depending on what your toddler likes, this can mean a wide variety of things. Some prefer to snuggle up and fall asleep in your arms while others like their independence and just want to be tucked into bed. Whatever you prefer to do to set up a routine is fine.

Just know that your decisions are setting up a routine for your child to get used to every single night. If you aren’t wanting to start the habit of laying down with them before they fall asleep, don’t add that into the nightly routine.

Only add in things that are going to calm them down and get them relaxed but also give them their own independence to fall asleep as well. You’ll find that it’s a good combination for bedtime routine success if you can make that happen.

Bedtime routines are great for the entire family

Even though it’s important for children to get on a bedtime routine that works, just know that it’s just as important for everyone in the family to do so as well.

When everyone can take the time and get a good night’s sleep, it sets the foundation for a great start for the next day and the days that follow.

A few really great pre-bedtime routines for adults are journaling, reading, listening to music, or taking a warm bath. 

How are bedtime routines beneficial for families?

Setting a bedtime routine for the kids creates an atmosphere at home that is really, really good. It creates a home environment that everyone can work with and creates a harmony where all feels balanced and stress-free.


Bedtime routines ensure that everyone gets a good nights rest

Sleep does everyone good. When your children get a good night’s rest, they’re less cranky and irritable during the next day. And let’s face it, so are the adults! Settling down and getting into a routine is one way that everyone can make certain that they’re putting their best foot forward for the days that follow.


Creating a bedtime routine shows your children the importance of creating a schedule and sticking to it

By creating a bedtime routine for your child, you’re showing them that it’s possible to have a routine and make it work for them. This also puts the thought in their head that routines work and will install that thought process as they grow into adults.

Overly stressing about a bedtime routine isn’t good for anyone involved. Remember to put the focus on your child. Make certain that you’re doing what you can to comfort them and create a bedtime routine that truly does work for them.

Do you have any tips for creating bedtime routines that work?

We would love for you to comment below with any advice you would give to another mom about developing a bedtime routine.


Check out these related articles:

The Ultimate List of Toddler Hacks Every Mom Needs In Her Life

Marriage After the Baby – The Secret to Keeping It Strong

14 Most Effective Tips for Weightloss After Baby


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