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February 16, 2022 3 min read

by Sarah Pashniak, Pashionate About Sleep

Bedtime routines are one of the key elements for successful sleep. How you put your child to bed has a huge impact on the quality of sleep your little one has.  The reason for this is simple:

Your child longs to feel safe and secure in order to have a good night’s sleep.   

In reality, we often feel rushed at bedtime and we think that if you do A, B, C that your baby will have a great sleep. You did the exact same bedtime routine as you did the night before and the night before that and the night before that.   

But what if I told you that what you do for your bedtime routine pales in comparison to the quality of time spent on your bedtime routine? We focus so much on the time on the clock that we rush saying good night to our child because we do not want them to be overtired. When you say good night to your child, remind yourself that you are saying “good bye” for up to 13 hours. That is right! Up to about 50% of your child’s 24 hour day is spent away from you. Those few moments before bed are crucial in establishing a bond that says “You are safe. You are loved.” 

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of time that we are actually with our children. Once our kiddo’s reach school age, the only time you may have together is a few short hours between school or after school activities and sleep time. When it feels like we are being pulled a million directions, it is more important than ever to ground yourself and connect with your child. Take 10, 20, 30 or more minutes to put your phone away, turn off distractions and enjoy authentic engagement and interactions. Our children have a sense of knowing when we are rushed. They sense and mirror our chaotic thoughts. When we calm our body and mind, your child will calm her body and mind.  

Tips for establishing a mindful bedtime routine:

  • Keep it simple. Bedtime routines do not need to be extravagant.  
  • Start small - be realistic. If you are used to a chaotic bedtime routine, start with 5 minutes of being fully engaged. Continue to build up time as you experience the far reaching benefits
  • Put your phone away and turn off distractions
  • Create a calming environment - dim the lights, turn off the tv, play white noise or relaxing music.
  • Set aside your “to do lists” and leave your wandering thoughts at the door
  • Make eye contact
  • Incorporate the senses - snuggle, use your favorite bedtime lotion
  • Enjoy the simple act of just being with your child.  He or she deserves this, you deserve this. . . and your efforts will pay off in many ways. 

Bonus tip: having a lovey present during bedtime routines helps to establish a sense of security even when mom or dad is not present. While an object in the sleep space is not considered safe until the age of 1 year, you can still have one close by. One example of a lovey is the Lulla Doll or the Lulla Owl. This doll can be used from newborns and up. Keep the Lulla Doll close by during the bedtime routine and after your child’s first birthday, the Lulla Doll can join him in the crib. 

Your little one will have a strong sense of attachment with you and you will grow to crave these quiet moments with your baby. If you have been rushing things up until this point, you may just find that a mindful bedtime routine trickles into other parts of your everyday life.  

I hope that this blog has resonated with you.  I invite you to reflect on how your current bedtime routine is going. Are you happy with how bedtime plays out with your family or do you feel like there is room to try something different?   

If you ever feel like you are wanting support with your little one’s sleep, feel free to reach out.  You can find me on facebook and instagram @pashionateaboutsleep or www.pashionateaboutsleep.com 

Sleep is on the way. . .