As a parent – new or experienced – you have probably already learned the value of sleep…

Sleep is gold.

It is like having your favorite ice cream sundae hand delivered to you on a scorching hot day…

Whether it is getting your sleep or just getting baby to sleep, it is valuable to the sanity of you both.

A bedtime routine can be hard with a new baby. You are still welcoming them to this world, working on feeding schedules, and you’re still such a nervous wreck you can hardly leave them alone for five minutes.

But, as they begin to grow, it is vital to your continued sanity and health, as well as theirs, that you start (and keep!) a bedtime routine.

Typically, babies are not capable of a being fairly consistent with a sleep schedule until they are about 4 to 6 months old. The first few months of life are not the time to start a rigid sleep schedule, but the time will be quickly approaching.

Starting a Bedtime Routine

So, how do you start a bedtime routine with your little one?

This question often leaves most parents feeling puzzled.

Do you just put them in their crib and try the age-old tale of the “cry it out” method?

Do you let them sleep in your bed so that you can quickly rock them back to sleep if they awake?

As you ponder these questions, let me give you some insight:

Start early.

Don’t wait until they are a few years old, start working on a sleep schedule at just a few months old. The sooner, the better. They are much more impressionable at a young age.

Incorporate specific bedtime routines.

Try reading a book every night before bed and/or having bath time right before bed.

By finding one activity that you do each and every night before bed you will help your child learn to associate that activity with bedtime.

This will help them stick to the schedule and then bedtime won’t come as so much of a surprise.

Put baby’s schedule first.

Make getting the baby to bed on time your top priority. Sometimes it just won’t happen, but if it comes down to finishing up your sewing or getting them to bed on time – get them to bed on time.

During the beginning stages, consistency is key. So, keep their schedule first.

Don’t expect perfection.

It won’t work the first time you do it…

It takes time to establish a routine. Reward them when they do good and encourage them to stick with their bedtime.

By showing them that going to bed on time is related to positive reinforcement, they will be much more likely to want to participate.

Keeping a Bedtime Routine

Once you have worked so hard to conquer the challenges that come with establishing a bedtime routine, don’t let it all go to waste…

Continue to work with your child and try to stick to the schedule yourself. You will find that you both feel much more rejuvenated the next day when you both stick to a normal bedtime routine.

A few tips to help you keep up your newfound bedtime routine include:

Teach your baby the difference between night and day.

Frequent napping, and letting them nap at any time of the day can mix up their nights and days. Keep them on a consistent feeding and napping schedule so their bodies adjust to the habits of day and night.

Avoid frequent naps during the day.

Nap time is healthy and your baby should be taking a nap each day. But, they should not be taking three naps each day and sometimes taking naps in the early evening.

This will not only mess up their differentiation between day and night – which you worked hard to achieve – but it will also leave them with extra energy at bedtime.

Adjust your child’s bedtime to their age.

Once they are older, their previous 7:00 p.m. bedtime might no longer be ideal – especially as they begin to go to daycare, school, or participate in other activities.

Continuously adjust their schedule to what works best for their age…

But, always ensure they are getting the appropriate hours of sleep.

See – it doesn’t have to be such a headache to get on a bedtime routine, but it will be a major headache if you don’t.

A bedtime routine is valuable because it allows your child to get the proper amount of rest, teaches them structure and helps encourage them to sleep in their own bed.

However, it also benefits you…

Your child going to bed on time allows you to get extra things done around the house, spend some quality time with your spouse, and more importantly it allows you to get your required hours of sleep.

You will be much more productive when you both wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day.

Now, go get baby on a sleep schedule!

Did we miss one of your favorite midwives’ tale for getting baby on a sleep schedule? Let us know in the comments!

Author's Bio: 

Md Rasel is a professional blogger.