YES YES YES!!!
A set bedtime and routine are great not just for our kids but us adults too!
Sometimes we need to change the time of bedtime depending on when your baby or toddler napped earlier in the day.
It's really important to have a consistent bedtime routine. Simple steps you do every evening that prepares your baby or child for sleep time. Depending on your child's age this doesn't have to take long but doing the same things in the same order helps your baby or child get ready for bed.
We're all busy but ..... Ideally:
After dinner (which ideally should be 1-2 hours before bedtime) allow time for one on one playtime where possible.
Turn off the TV, phones and scr
eens. Any blue light from screens, phones, tv’s and baby light projections block melatonin production so don’t have these on 1-2 hours before bedtime.
It can be a good idea to do something fairly physical with your child, rough and tumble or running around exercises - something to help burn off some energy.
Then 15 minutes before you start bedtime routine dim the lights and have everything calm, this is the start of the wind down routine. The purpose of the wind down routine is to start the bedtime routine with a calm child.
For older toddlers and children, during wind down you could do puzzles, colouring, look at books or better still a bespoke bedtime book. This is where you make your own photo book and break down each stage of bedtime routine by taking photographs or downloading pictures what your child will do at each stage.
When you start the bedtime routine stay upstairs and have a sequence of events that you do in the same order before bed. Take everything you need with you upstairs, so if they have a favourite teddy, story or have a drink before bed have it all in their room so you nor your child need to go back downstairs. We've all fallen into the trap of 'oh I need my ...... for bed' and no one knows where this precious item is and you spend the next 20 minutes looking for it.
I talk about sleep latency with the parents I work with - this is the time it takes to fall asleep, ideally you are looking at around 15-20 mins for this, less than this and it can show sleep deprivation and longer than this can indicate a wrong bedtime or day time sleep has impacted bedtime.