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It's no secret that bedtime is the last part of a consistent night time ritual. However, getting kids to sleep through the night isn't always the easiest thing to do. You've seen those reality shows where parents spend hours trying to get their tearful off-spring into bed for the night. It's true that there will be times when the routine is off, but if you can incorporate a relaxing wind-down ritual into your days, you're going to find bedtime a whole lot easier at night.
Quiet time isn't such an issue for newborns. At that stage, they pretty much dictate the schedule and demand that you stick with their routine. As they get older, however, you can start guiding the downtime by making sure they're not watching loud TV shows, playing over-stimulating video games, etc. Whatever ritual you choose, include it in bath time to help unwind after a long day. Dim the lights if you can, buy aromatic baby products that aid in relaxation, and incorporate some light baby or toddler massage into the routine.
You might even consider investing in a mobile crib that plays soothing music. Just remember that the calmer you are, the calmer your baby will be. If you're rushing around trying to hurry the bedtime routine, it's not going to work. You can't fake quiet time so if it means spending a little time to yourself before diving into the routine…so be it.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|