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Jayne Havens is a certified sleep consultant and the founder of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. As a leader in the industry, Jayne advocates for healthy sleep hygiene for children of all ages. Jayne launched her comprehensive sleep consultant certification course so she could train and mentor others to work in this emerging industry.

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The Bedtime Routine

Bedtime Routine

When it comes to fostering healthy sleep habits for your child, there is nothing more important than establishing a solid bedtime routine for toddlers. This is something that can be implemented from the very beginning. Plus, the bedtime routine can stay very much the same as your baby grows.

Moreover, a bedtime routine for kids signals to your child that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. Even before a baby understands this language. Infants can associate the scent of lavender lotion and the sound of a white noise machine with bedtime. These sensory cues help them anticipate sleep and provide comfort. Predictable routines reassure infants and help create a sense of security for them.


The components of the bedtime routine:

As a pediatric sleep consultant, I recommend a consistent bedtime routine for babies, regardless of age. For infants, start with a well-lit feed to avoid feeding to sleep. After feeding, gently brush their gums with a warm washcloth to establish a teeth-cleaning habit. This promotes tooth brushing as they grow.

Additionally, this ritual helps eliminate feed-to-sleep association. After feeding and brushing, find a cozy spot with dim lights to read a story or two. Play a comforting song, then place the baby in their bassinet or crib. It’s ideal for the baby to be relaxed, calm, and still awake to fall asleep independently. This routine fosters healthy sleep habits and a soothing environment for the baby.

Transitioning from play to sleep:

The bedtime routine serves as a helpful tool during the daytime as well. It provides a smooth transition from play to sleep for babies and toddlers. By incorporating an intermediate activity, the routine gradually relaxes the child, helping them mentally and physically prepare for sleep. For this reason, the repetitive nature of the routine signals what comes next, aiding in the child’s understanding and readiness for sleep.

When to start:

To begin, parents shouldn’t add unnecessary stress or pressure when they bring home a new baby. However, starting a bedtime routine can be a lovely opportunity to bond and establish structure. If Mom is nursing, the other parent can engage in reading stories and singing songs, creating a meaningful connection with the child. Witnessing young babies embrace the rituals set by their parents is a wonderful and rewarding experience.

How does the bedtime routine evolve as the child grows?

The bedtime routine offers the incredible advantage of requiring minimal changes over the years. The consistent activities of brushing teeth, reading books, and singing songs can remain unchanged. Plus, as your child grows, you can gradually incorporate longer books or even encourage your child to read to you, fostering their love for reading.

If your child starts to feel embarrassed about your singing, that little ritual can be phased out or traded in for a quick “secret goodnight handshake” or something fun like that!

If you’re struggling with your child’s bedtime routine, please reach out to a certified sleep consultant, Jayne Havens of Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens.


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What is good bedtime routine?

A good bedtime routine involves setting a consistent bedtime and creating a relaxing environment to promote quality sleep.

What is the 321 bedtime rule?

The 321 bedtime rule is a technique that involves setting aside three hours before bed to stop consuming caffeine, two hours to stop doing work or engaging in stimulating activities, and one hour to wind down and engage in relaxing activities before going to sleep. This rule helps create a buffer zone between your daily activities and sleep, allowing your body and mind to prepare for a restful night.

What is the best routine for night?

The best routine for infants at night involves establishing a consistent bedtime, typically around the same time each night, and following a soothing routine that helps them wind down before sleep. This can include activities like a warm bath, gentle massage, reading a bedtime story, and feeding. Creating a calm and comfortable sleep environment with dim lights, soft sounds, and a cozy sleep space can also contribute to a restful night for infants.

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