It is very important to start a bedtime routine from an early age and to stick with it. Many studies, I have read, show the importance of a goodnight sleep for healthy growth.
My husband and I have implemented a bedtime routine for our children since they were young. Although, putting our daughter to bed when she was little was easy, it was different with our son who pretty much never slept for the first two years of his life.
Our usual routine for bedtime is to first mentally prepare our children by telling them it is dark and its night at least an hour before the time we need them to be asleep. Then we give them a warm wash. I think a good wash, calms and allow children to sleep well. I used JOHNSON'S products with my daughter, but not with my son because of his sensitive skin and allergies. Now, the new and improved JOHNSON’S® NATURAL® products are free of paraben, dye and phyhalate.
After a wash, we give a massage with lotion especially when the climate is cold. Our children help us put on their pyjamas. I think bedtime is the best time to teach our children to learn to independently put their clothes on, instead of trying it during the morning rush.
We read a book and say prayers before giving goodnight kisses and hugs.
One “vital” step we do before going to sleep even on those nights when it’s getting a bit late, or when our children are a bit fussy is to make sure they have clean clothes/ diapers and to give them a hug, kisses and say a prayer.
When they were little I got up many many times to check on them and couldn't sleep well, now I know they would call for me if they need something so I don't need to go check every half hour to an hour. As our children are getting older our bedtime routine has changed. They understand the concept of time and know there is a set time to go to bed and if they do get late to sleep at night their mornings are not too bright :)
My son needs to sleep during his set time so we make sure to stick to his routine. My daughter on the other had is becoming independent and makes it hard for us to stick to our routine and implement bedtime; we do see a big difference if she goes to bed late and gives us a hard time in the morning. We do have to deal with issues when their bedtime is delayed until their sleep is caught up, so during these times we try to remind each other and stay patient although this is very hard :)
I remember when my daughter was little she would bring almost all her books to read before bed, and most of the time I have to end up reading many books word to word before she falls asleep. If I miss a page "accidentally" then it wouldn't satisfy her but over time even when I do miss a page or two she fills me in and ended up reading the book to me instead and saying "mom you can sleep now". I love remembering the sweet moments of my sympathetic little girl and how motherly she is when I am not feeling well; I really hope she will continue to have these good qualities as she grows up and her caring innocence doesn't go away.
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