How to start a new bedtime routine for your baby

Set a bedtime routine for baby to help them understand whats next

By Harold Penn
How to start a new bedtime routine for your baby

Working the best bedtime routine for your baby

Babies can be natural troublemakers without the right planning, attention, and love. They can drive you crazy and makes you want to pull out your hair, but what can we do than to shower them with all the love and kisses in the world? Loving them become our full-time job even on days when we get so tired, a look at their innocent face just gives us the spark we need to keep moving on.

In spite of this, there are days when these young ones just would not allow you to take a minute break from loving and caring for them, this is why you should consider creating a regular routine that she can easily get used to. The beauty of creating a baby routine is that it helps you and your little jewel spends more productive time with each other, and babies just love having predictable timings as it helps them cope with the day better.

3 Benefits of a bedtime routine

Babies are such clever little beings that they can detect every emotion and reaction just by staring into your eyes. All parents want their baby relaxed all the time, this is why a regular routine will help your baby to be more relaxed as she knows that you have a lot of treats lined up for her

Don’t wait till she is 12 weeks old, create a regular line of activities which she would come to be thankful of as she grows older, call it being too repetitive or boring if you want, this helps you and the baby a great deal as babies are fond of consistency and predicatability, these two things should not be replaced for anything as a slight change of routine or inconsistency of activities might bring more trouble than you can handle.

1. Setting a Routine for your Baby

Getting her used to the routine would help her sleep better with time and she is more likely to fall asleep easily when you have a constant routine which she has gotten used to, even when you are not around to take care of her , a regular routine would make things easier for her when she is away from home. 

2. Baby routines helps build Parent-child bond

Having a regular routine would also help with a consistent bedtime routine which would help with a consistent sleep pattern that would keep your baby energized, healthy and ready for the next big challenge This bed time routine is a special time for parents to bond with their baby and create fun memories that would last long in the minds of both the baby and the parents. 

3. Helps you plan your day as Parents

Yes! Never worry about your baby screaming in your ears while you are hanging out with friends or catching up with friends at the pub, having a routine will help you to plan your day better, this can’t be overstated. A well-organized baby routine would help cover every detail possible, baby lunch, bathing, rocking; it’s a wrong notion to think you life stops the moment you have a baby, with a good baby routine your life can be organized as well.

How to establish a good bedtime routine?

Your baby’s bed time routine is meant to be started early in the evening so you can run through the list of things you want to do with her before the night, for babies between 6-10 weeks old, it is always advisable to keep your sequences short and simple, but as time goes by you can be as creative as you want by adding new activities into the main routine you have planned out for the day. Considering the age of your baby, you could basically start with washing her up and then reading a story or song in the rocking chair, the fun part is when she tries to reach for the storybook repeatedly, don’t be hard on her, let her do what she wants, with time she would get used to it and eventually sit tight to hear the story.

Besides all the fun stuff and routines you and the baby do regularly to prepare for bedtime, it is also important to make sure that her room has the right mood setting to bedtime. Association for day and night is very important as you manage baby’s bedtime routine. Try to keep all bedtime activities to his/ her room, that way, baby will soon come to the understanding that the routine meant that it’s time to sleep.

8 Tips to creating your baby’s routine

After you have taken the time to sort out when she sleeps and the best time to fit in a bedtime routine, the next thing is to create the bedtime routine and gradually ease your baby into it.

1. Take it slow

It is a gradual process that might take a month or more based on often you do and repeat it .Over the course of the month, you should apply tried and effectively bedtime routine such as massages, singing simple easy tunes which she can easily hum along within months, most importantly do not forget to repeat all the bed time routine so she can play along with time.

2. Try to master the drowsy baby drop-off.

This method is an effective means to train your baby on how to fall asleep effortlessly, this can be done at the end of your bedtime routine, all you have to do put her in baby bundle and gentle swing it, she doesn’t need to be actually asleep when you are rocking her, this helps her to fall asleep without being in your arms.

This technique has been tried and tested as it would give the baby the feel of still being in your arms, helping to fall back to sleep when she wakes up in the middle of the night and you are not there.

3. Let off some steam

Sometimes, babies have their bad days just like adults and parents should understand this, so when this does happen, it is better to allow her to let off some steam before you prepare her for the night, in order to do this to perfection ,you can simply play around with a favorite song of yours or let her just bounce up and down in the bouncer if she feels likes it, the most important thing to know is that you have to get her out of her bad mood by mixing up any rowdy play with something quiet and calm. Afterward, a nice bath would do to prepare her for her bedtime activities.

4. Give her a dip

The most important part of bedtime is the bath. Babies love the soothing feel of water and you should allow her to enjoy her time by sitting in the warm water, this is a very efficient way to make her relaxed, calm and clean in preparation for bedtime.

It is also important to note that babies love spending bath time period with their parents, spending this time with your baby to creates a bond which she would long for all the time, but also the mindful of the reactions of the baby so you would not be forcing her to bath all the time, if it works for you and the baby all the time, then its good but if it doesn’t then it just might be best to skip bathing her for the next bedtime ritual.

5. Get the basics right

Getting your baby ready for bed can include washing her hands and face, brushing her teeth and cleaning her gum, removing and replacing your her diaper, and even getting into her favorite pajamas, at this point colors matters a lot as your baby might even be picky about the color of pajamas she wants to wear, this is why you need to be alert and observant, this would go on to help you in the future to know the kind of colors and patterns she loves. In doing the basics, try to stick to a pattern so your baby gets used to it.

6. Play a game

Should you add games to your baby’s routine? Of course! Why not, playing games such as peek-a-boo is simple way to spend some fun time with your baby, you don’t need anything overly rowdy, whatever works for the baby is just fine, but you should stick with games that would not stress her too much or get her overly excited.

7. Put everything into perspective

In working out a perfect baby routine you should also realize that you are instrumental in establishing a perfect baby routine, as such you should know that the baby routine is not only for the baby but also for you, as such you need to be prepared mentally to go with the flow of the baby's routine so as to get the desired results.

8. Learn to anticipate baby cues

You don’t have to be a mind reader to be the perfect mother or perfect parents, you just need to make more concerted efforts to knows how her mind works, what she wants? What she doesn’t? and when she wants it.. Let go of the worries, just take a look at her and everything would start flooding in naturally.

Baby Sleep Chart

These are estimates for the amount of sleep your child should get. Just like adults who need 6-8 hours of sleep, every child is different and may vary on the amount of sleep required. 

Age Range       Night Time      Number of Naps   Naptime length   Sleep (Total)
Newborn - 4
8-9 hours 3-5  7- 9 hours 16- 18 hours
4- 12 months 9-10 hours 2-3  4-5 hours 12 - 16 hours
1 - 2 years 11 hours 2 2-3 hours 11 - 13 hours
3 - 5 years  10 to 11
0-1 0-1 hour 10 - 12 hours

Note that the hours of nap and the total length of naptime hours decreases as the baby grow and it is perfectly normal. It is very important to keep a journal or paper clips of important changes that the baby goes during the routines, this would help to measure any progress or regression and would also set the pace for when you slowly introduce new changes to the routine. Every baby is different, don't push your baby to follow exactly the naptime and sleep hours because baby knows best! Read about baby's different stages of sleep to understand when is their deepest slumber.

Bedtime Routine for 18 months toddlers

For a typical 18-month-old toddler, the child may change from 2 naps a day to 1 longer nap for the entire day.  a good example of a bedtime routine would be as follow:

7.30pm - Wake and Breakfast
8.00am - 11.00am - Free play and structured play time
11.30am - Lunch
12.30pm - Nap
3.00pm - Wake from Nap and Snack time
4.00pm - 5.30pm - Playtime, Learning time
6.00pm - Dinner
6.30pm - Bath and Winding down for Bedtime
7.30pm - Bedtime

*This bedtime routine is an example and you can fit your own schedule into the routine to customize it to your comfortable timing.

It’s easy to sit down and come up with a day and bedtime routine for your baby, but how can you create the perfect bedtime routine for your baby? This is why you need to settle down to understand when your baby goes to sleep and how long she sleeps. For instance, if your baby normally sleeps her longest from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., then the best thing to do is create a bedtime routine for official bedtime at 6:15 or 6:30 p.m.

With babies, you can’t afford to change her naptime schedule whenever you like it. As they grow older, things would definitely change and you would have to adjust your schedule, but for now, try to increase the naptime when she needs it and know to reduce it when she doesn’t need it. Always listen to your baby cues!


Be the parents you have always dreamt of with these tips and most importantly, do know that you do not need to be in control of your baby all the time. Work your routine, and if the baby doesn't follow to a T there is no need to panic. The most important thing here is to enjoy your baby and parenthood.