It's never too early to start a bedtime routine with your baby. In fact most babies will be receptive to a schedule around 6-8 weeks. Bedtime routines calm your child and prepare him for a good night's sleep, which is vital to happiness (both yours and Baby's) in the morning!
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Why Babies Need a Routine
Like adults, babies need a bedtime routine to simply unwind from the day. It is difficult for anyone to fall asleep after a busy day without some time to calm down. Starting a bedtime ritual while your little one is a baby will not only make bedtime easier now but also help as Baby transitions into childhood.
Dealing with Separation
Bedtime is often scary for your little one because he's separated from the people he loves most -- his parents! It might cause your child anxiety to abruptly send him to bed without a routine. So set aside 10 to 30 minutes to do something special with your child: Try reading a book, rubbing his back, or sing him a lullaby. Your bedtime activities should take place in his bedroom -- not on the couch or in your bedroom -- so he knows his bedroom is where he'll sleep.
How to Start a Routine
Establish a bedtime routine right away (as early as 6-8 weeks) and tweak it as your child gets older. Once your baby gets older and understands the routine, explain to him the reason for changes. Such as, "We're going to get up really early tomorrow for a trip so you have to go to bed a littler earlier tonight."
Identify Problem Spots
As your child gets older, you will experience more woes that accompany bedtime. Every child has her hang-ups when it comes to the bedtime routine: Whether it be stalling for more time reading, not wanting to brush her teeth, or complaining about her pajamas. The best way to deal with these problems is to simply know they are coming. By anticipating her protest, you will be able to maneuver around it smoothly in a manner that suits your child best.
Try this Routine
7:30 Transition Activity: Put diaper and pajamas on Baby.
7:40 Calm and Connect: Play on the floor or look at books; rock and feed Baby.
8:00 Cue: Lay Baby in crib; play music, kiss and hug him, rub his back.