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A suc­cess­ful bed­time rou­tine is a pre­cur­sor to a good night’s sleep. Ba­bies and tod­dlers thrive on rou­tine so get a head start with th­ese top tips ne of the first pieces of ad­vice that any­one would give a new par­ent who wants to es­tab­lish good sleep hygi

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your Baby - BY PETRO THAMM

MAKE IT PRE­DICTABLE & CON­SIS­TENT

Chil­dren love pre­dictabil­ity – es­pe­cially tod­dlers. It makes them feel as if they have con­trol in the sit­u­a­tion and this makes them feel safe. The con­sis­tent na­ture of a bed­time rou­tine is also part of the very im­por­tant cues that will help your baby un­der­stand the step that is called “sleep”. Thus one of the

FEED­ING SHOULD BE IN THE COR­RECT OR­DER

Try to not au­to­mat­i­cally feed your baby as the last step in the rou­tine. Al­though you do want to put your baby down with a nice full stom­ach, you don’t want your child to al­ways as­so­ciate feed­ing with sleep – this will cause un­nec­es­sary night wak­ing. Try to in­clude an­other step in your bed­time rou­tine af­ter the last feed – read­ing a book is a lovely bond­ing step. The vis­ual stim­u­la­tion is ex­cel­lent for de­vel­op­ment and they love hear­ing the calm­ing sound of your voice. If you have a smaller baby or new­born, feed half of the feed prior to the bath so that your baby can ac­tu­ally en­joy it in­stead of get­ting too hun­gry or want­ing the milk too much!

NOT TOO LONG, NOT TOO SHORT

A bed­time rou­tine should be more or less 30 min­utes (which in­cludes

BED­TIME IS A TIME FOR BOND­ING

Bed­time should be a won­der­ful, bond­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Try to have the din­ner ready so that you are not stressed dur­ing the process. Be present, in mind, body and spirit and en­joy th­ese last cud­dles of the day with your lit­tle one. Chil­dren pick up on our emo­tions – if you are tired, grumpy and “just want to get it over with” don’t be sur­prised if your baby re­acts the same way. This is es­pe­cially true with tod­dlers who will par­tic­u­larly crave at­ten­tion dur­ing this time if they were are school the whole day. It is also ad­vis­able that dads and other care­tak­ers are in­volved in the bed­time rou­tine – one par­ent should not ex­clu­sively han­dle bed­time be­cause your lit­tle one might start as­so­ci­at­ing sleep with only that one care­taker. How­ever, if both par­ents are in­volved your child learns that the same con­sis­tent bed­time rules ap­ply no mat­ter who does the rou­tine (this makes life much eas­ier for po­ten­tial fu­ture babysit­ters). YB

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