Never underestimate the power of bedtime rituals. Baby sleep patterns are highly dependent upon routine. In fact, following some of the same routines night after night will help your baby feel a sense of comfort. If your child seems to have an irregular sleep pattern or has lots of trouble falling asleep, try a few of these tips:
1) The Lullaby
Soothing music is a proven way to help your child fall asleep. Some of the most dramatic results I have seen have resulted from incorporating soothing music into the bedtime routine.
Relaxing classical music seems to have the most dramatic effect on babies, but music with vocal melodies can be equally soothing and will help your child remember that they are not alone.
2) The Bedtime Story
While for older children, this is a ‘must’, studies have shown that this even has a profound effect on newborns. They may not understand the words, but the calming sound of mommy or daddy’s voice can be just what the doctor ordered when baby is feeling unsettled.
Of course, children whose parents read to them grow up to be adults who read, so the bedtime story is extremely important, for several reasons.
3) Sunshine & Exercise
It’s important to get baby out of the house and active during the day. Even taking your baby for a morning walk will help trigger the baby’s response mechanisms in the morning, and help to emphasize that daytime is for activity…and night-time is for sleeping.
4) Break Out the “P.J.’s”
Changing baby’s clothes is a nice, subtle way to help train them that they are getting ready for sleep. This will help focus their brains and prepare them for a restful slumber.
Be sure to never put baby to sleep in their ‘daytime’ clothes. This will hold back the development of their bedtime ritual and may confuse them as they grow older.
5) Rub Them the Right Way
It’s amazing the way humans respond to touch.
Alternatively, it has been shown that babies who do not get enough human contact could become quite sick. Babies not only love to be touched, they need it in order to develop properly. Deepen the bond with your child, and help them to relax at the same time, by giving them a gentle rubdown at bedtime.
Remember, all of the things listed above will not only help your child sleep better, but will also strengthen your relationship with your child. Don’t just help them sleep…help them develop into happy, healthy adults.
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