Creating a Better Bedtime

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bettersleeproutine
Expert tips on creating a great sleep environment and getting the routine right.

Let’s talk about how to create a calming bedroom environment and a healthy relationship with sleep. The thing I love about this, is that it doesn’t have to cost you anything at all. 

Creating an ideal sleeping environment is essential. If a child does not have a dedicated space to sleep and there is too much chaos going on, it can be difficult to sleep. That said, room-sharing with parents/siblings/both is no problem at all.  Although I admire the beautiful nurseries that our clients create, it certainly isn’t necessary to achieve great sleep habits that last. 

So what does an ideal sleep environment look like?

  • Less is more. If your child is struggling with going down easily for sleep, try removing the clutter from their bed and bedroom. For toddlers, choose 1-2 safe items that they love for their bed. For some children, too many items creates a stimulating environment. For babies under 12 months, it is safest to have nothing at all in the crib. 
  • Dark bedroom. Cover the windows to create an ideal environment for sleep to come easily. You can use something you already have, like a darker blanket, or any kind of fabric you have around. Investing in black-out curtains/blinds can go a long way in ensuring naps stay lengthy and for avoiding early mornings. Although you don’t have to actually buy any, if you do – I recommend these black out curtains.
  • White noise is an excellent tool. It helps drown out household and neighbourhood noises. This also prevents short naps and early morning waking’s. This is because it creates a calming sound that makes it easier for children to drift back into sleep. You can use a fan, humidifier or a bathroom fan turned on. Just ensure a fan or heater is never directly blowing on your child. You may find one a friend no longer needs or an inexpensive used one online. I have used this exact white noise machine for 6 years (and three children) It travels well, too. I love that it does not require batteries. 
  • Boring is good. Have their bedroom be free of stimulating activities like moving light devices, loud/lit mobiles, etc. If you have toys/activities that you love, it is okay to use them during non-sleep time in their bedroom.

A routine is an easy way to calm a little one down and get them ready for sleep.  Something between 20-35 minutes is ideal because there needs to be enough of a transition happening. The idea is that they understand that a shift is occurring. If your child has a particular need (physio, lotion for skin condition, etc.) keeping it part of the routine is a great way to ensure it gets done, but also helps to not have to think about it during other parts of your busy evening. 

What should a routine look like?

  • Bath/washing: starting off in the washroom is a great way to mark that a transition is happening. It doesn’t have to actually be a bath night, but even just washing their hands and face in the washroom before moving into the bedroom is great. 
  • Jammies: Get them into a fresh diaper, jammies and a sleep sack if you use one. 
  • Feeding (depending on age): if you are unsure about when to remove a feeding from the routine, you can always consult a caregiver. 
  • Story/pray: Offering your child a book helps develop their vocabulary. Allow them to choose a book so they can feel a little in control. This is especially true with toddlers. 
  • Song: Sing a familiar song that your support people know, so that when you are not present – someone else can easily get your child familiar with bedtime approaching. 

You do not need to buy gadgets (fancy lights, rocking devices, etc.) to create good sleep hygiene. It is more about getting a child ready for bed early and having a predictable routine. 

If you have any questions, please message me directly bridget@betterbedtime.ca 

We love working with families who are ready to get their baby sleeping. 

About Better Bedtime:

My name is Bridget, and I’m a sleep consultant with Better Bedtime. What does that mean? We help families who are struggling with their children’s sleep – typically babies 14 weeks and up, including toddlers and preschoolers as well.

We work one-on-one to learn about a specific child’s development and sleep particulars. From these details, we create a gentle sleep and coach parents through the sleep training journey. We also monitor the child’s sleep progress day over day, until everyone is getting the rest they need. We work in-person and remotely. Betterbedtime.ca 

Thanks for having me 🙂

better bedtime
Betterbedtime.ca