Warning: This is the personal experience of a blogger, not the sponsor, or a medical expert.
Creating an evening routine can really help in creating a comfortable bedtime. We follow the same steps every night that helps to put my children in bed.
You can start a sleep routine as soon as possible, even as a young baby. When Olivia was born, I received her in the same routine as my son, and it is surprising even at that age how fast she learned what to expect each night.
My biggest tip is timing. If I rush on the evening routine it can be stressful so I like to start the routine early and give me plenty of time to do evening activities, making the evening relaxed and enjoyable.
My routine is the four Bs – bath, book, bottle and bed.
A bath can be a very fun and relaxing part of the sleep routine, Olivia loves to play in the bath and this last activity in the evening definitely helps to get her tired and ready to sleep. However, my son seems to be quite excited at bathing time, so I think of having less toys in the bath and with this time talking quietly about his day, it's a good way to start wobbling down to bed.
When we get upstairs for the bathing times, we stay upstairs, so there is less stimulation. We keep the lights low and focus on calm soothing activities to help them know that sleep is coming.
After the bath, a relaxing massage helps to calm my children. My son has always suffered from dry skin and needed moisture every night so it has always been part of our routine and it definitely helps calm him and let him know it's going to bed.
Then we choose pajamas. I know Olivia can not do this herself, but she will do one day. I find that Ralph is involved in what he wants to sleep in, helping to create a smooth evening.
The night is the longest time my baby will spend in her diaper so this is the most important time to ensure that her skin is protected from diaper rash. I love using Sudocrem Care & Protect, it comes in a tube that is easy to use a handed. It's much lighter than the original, so it works perfectly like a daily barrier cream.
Story Time is a relaxing bedtime activity and a great way to connect with your children. My son has always loved books and I've read him since he was a baby.
It may seem stupid to read a baby when they can not understand, but he has always had books and it was one of the only times he would stay! He enjoyed looking at the pictures or helped turn the pages. It's a soothing activity and something we do now with Olivia.
Having a bedtime story every night has had a big impact on Ralph's love for books and his language and development. It is also a good way to read to become part of a child's daily routine.
Most children drink milk before bedtime. I find this evening's bottle really helps calm Olivia and settle for bedtime. Olivia usually takes a bottle at room temperature, but for this last bottle I like it hot because I think this really is comforting and helps her sleep.
Olivia sometimes falls asleep on this bottle, which can often cause her to wake up at night and look for me. I like that she moves after this flow and is a bit awake when I lay down her, she will settle, creating a more determined night sleep.
Now it's time to say goodnight. We keep the rooms dark because it helps to cue the body for sleep. Olivia is asleep in a dark room, but when my son grew older, he became more afraid of the dark, so having a night lamp or leaving the light on the light helped keep him alive.
When it's time to sleep, we put Olivia in her sleeping bag, this is another way to let her know it's time to sleep.
When I put the children in bed, I give them a kiss, say goodnight and tell them I love them. Ralph and I also have a secret handshake. I usually go to check them a couple of times so that they know I'm still there and help them feel safe.
Having a consistent evening routine can really help to create a calming bath and bedtime.
Limitation of Liability: This post is sponsored by Sudocrem.