One of the best ways to set your child up for a successful night is having a little bedtime routine that you repeat every single night. Just like you probably change into your pyjamas, brush your teeth, wash your face and maybe read a few pages before falling asleep, we can implement pretty much the same steps for your child.
Why do you do, what you do every night? Because it's become a habit and actually signals to your body and brain, that it's almost time to sleep. So when you implement a bedtime routine, you are actually setting the stage for sleep. You can do this pretty much from day 1 and it's a habit that your child can keep for the rest of their life. At the beginning we want to keep it really short and simple to know overstimulate your child, over time you can add some other little components, but I always suggest keep it at 20-30minutes max (less when they are newborns). So what does a good bedtime routine look like? One mistake that a lot of parents make, is to overcomplicate things. Keep it simple and repeat the same steps over and over. I always like to start off with a bath or shower. The warm water is a great stage setter and relaxes most babies and children. Follow the bath by putting on their pyjamas and brushing their teeth. Some babies love a bit of a massage, so if you wanted to incorporate one, make sure it's not too long so your child doesn't become overtired.
If your child still has a feed at bedtime now is a good time, they are relaxed and ready for a snuggle. We always end our days with storytime, we always read two books, while having a cuddle with the girls. Setting expectations and sticking to the same number of books every night means, you don't have to have a discussion to read "just one more, please". In our household, we finish up our bedtime routine with a prayer, two lullabies (one in German, one in English), a kiss, a squeeze and "I love you".
If you stick to the same sequence night after night, your child's body and brain will soon start to recognise the pattern and will be able to predict what comes next. If we overcomplicate things it gets too confusing for our little ones. So keep it simple and your child will soon be able to predict what comes next.