Bubbles are a magical thing.
Soft, iridescent and full of playing potential, bath time is my little girl’s favourite time of day. It’s there that she can explore another world of sensations, can become a pirate and discover new and inventive ways to make a story with her toys.
As well as getting clean and prepared for bed, bath time is a great tool for us parents. Bath time works as a signifier that the end of the day is coming and that we are well into the flow of our bedtime routine. We can brush our teeth, comb our hair and share a cuddle before bed.
We know that our children are not a ‘one size fits all’, but what can make a good routine?
Let’s take a look together:
What is your end goal?
Ultimately, for most parents having a good routine means that bedtime becomes easier for you and your child.
The goal is for your child to fall asleep on their own, without having you lie down next to them or being rocked to sleep. Then, if they wake up in the middle of the night, they have a better chance of falling back to sleep independently.
So, what are the building blocks for a good routine?
Well, anything that gets your little one prepared for bed! Everything from the last nappy change or toilet stop, toothbrushing and a bedtime story are all part of the deal.
Eventually, all of the pieces you put in place to prepare for bedtime will help your child associate those things with sleep.
A ‘win, win’, if you ask us!
Bath time = sleepy time according to science!
As I mentioned above, bath time is a magical thing.
Not only is it a great addition to any routine, a fun place for the imagination to thrive and more, but the effects of cooling down after a bath help you to sleep!
So your sweet baby’s body will be ‘tricked’ into thinking that it is night-time, and the desire to sleep, should come more swiftly.
Now, not all children like baths or if they are anything like my girl, too many baths can irritate her eczema-prone skin. Little and often may be your best bet!
But whatever happens, make sure bath time is an enjoyable experience.
Make space for your child to wind down
We all love a good natter with our friends. We offload our problems, frustrations, share our victories and things that have made us smile.
Your children are the same. They may not be able to express themselves in the same way, but they need to share their day with you too.
Building your little one’s confidence up by communicating with you, is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
As your children get older, they need to know and feel that they can talk to you. Plus, it’s a great relationship builder for the future!
Turn off the screen
Children’s television is bright, full of rich colours and catchy music - essentially, a sensory overload. Now imagine your young child experiencing this, just before bedtime. It’s a recipe for having a bouncy, wired, wild child in my home!
Turning off all screens an hour before bed will help your tot calm down and relax. During this time, you can do some colouring, make up stories together or maybe play a game.
Encouraging your little one to take care of their teeth is crucial for good oral hygiene. From the moment their first milk tooth appears, to losing their first tooth and beyond, your child needs to brush their teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day.
But my baby doesn’t have any teeth?
Well, keeping their gums fresh and clean is a ‘must’ for giving your child the best environment for their developing teeth.
Simply use a dental wipe or a clean, soft cloth to wipe over your little one’s gums.
As you’re in the bathroom anyway, make sure you encourage your child to have one last toilet stop or change their nappy. Avoiding any mishaps in the night is all part of a good routine.
Some tips to try :
- Load 2 minutes on a timer or clock or sing a 3-4 of their favourite nursery rhymes.
- Divide the mouth into quarters to help them focus on each area easier. You could use a nursery rhyme for each area of the mouth.
- You only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste
- Up & down strokes are the most effective at this stage, and it is easier for your little one to copy.
- Toothpaste flavours – Our Applemint toothpaste is very popular with early brushers, as little ones tend to experience a burning sensations with heavier mint flavours. To ease them in and to make the experience of brushing more enjoyable try introducing this mild flavoured toothpaste and see how you get along.
My little girl is happiest when she gets to choose her pyjamas. It’s almost a rite of passage for her.
Encouraging your child to select what they will wear to bed may help get them into bed faster too!
Don’t go too wild though - keep their options down to at least three.
Storytime & Goodnight
Getting snuggly with a story just before bed is one of my little girl’s favourite parts of her day. It’s also one of mine.
Stories are a fantastic way of building up vocabulary and opening up different worlds to your child.
As your story comes to a close, it’s time to say goodnight—a definitive end to the day, and the final part of your routine.
All routines are adaptable, as your child grows and develops, you will need to make some changes along the way.
Are you up for the challenge?