Radha was tired of singing lullaby to her 1 year old son. She had to sing every single night to put Shreyans to sleep. Infact her husband Avinash made fun of her by saying “Jabtak teri awaaz chalegi main sounga!” (on the lines of Sholay dialogue)
Initially she enjoyed this schedule but now it was getting monotonous and taxing on her. She couldn’t put him to sleep early as she had to ensure the household chores get completed.
One day Radha and her garden friend Sneha were talking while their kids were playing in front of them. Suddenly Sneha saw her watch and exclaimed “Its already 7! Didn’t realize while talking, I have to rush, Its time for Suryansh to sleep.”
“Sleep! Its just 7, for me sleep time stretches till 10/11, singing songs to him after finishing my daily chores, because once I am in bed with Shreyans it takes an hour or two to put him to sleep!” Radha sighed.
“Well, Radha,initially it happened with me too . Thankfully my sister in law visited us during winter break and I saw how sorted her kids sleep time routine was. I made changes gradually and finally my life is also sorted.” Sneha smiled as she looked at Radha looking with a blank face.
“Accha chal, let me share few pointers with you. Follow them and make small changes as per your comfort and need.” Both of them sat on the bench near the kids play area.
1. Set up a routine and stick to it – There should be a fixed time when the child’s sleep time routine begins every evening /night.Children as young as 2 weeks old understand what a routine is. You would often hear kids showing signs for massage/bath during the usual time.
2.Begin early- Begin atleast an hour before the expected sleep time. Gradually you can start a little late. Suppose you want your child to sleep at 8 PM, start by 7 PM. The goal is to put the child to sleep on time,
3.Stay Consistent-If we start following a schedule everyday, naturally our body will get accustomed to it. Following a sleep time routine on weekdays and not following it on weekends does not solve the purpose. Stay consistent with your efforts.
4.Bath- Massage- Feed- This 3 step process relaxes and helps the child sleep quicker and longer. Give your child bath using a neutral/mild fragrance baby product. The water should be warm or tepid not hot. Also ensure that you switch the fan/AC off before bringing the child to the room to ensure there isn’t any difference in temperature. Massage the child with a baby oil/baby lotion gently while talking to the child that its almost time to sleep. Mentally preparing the child is equally important. These steps have to be taken care of initially. Gradually the child himself/herself starts showing signs of sleepiness. Feed the child to ensure the child doesn’t go to bed hungry. You can change the steps as per your comfort.
5.Final step- Now comes the final step to put the baby to sleep. Gently put the child to sleep on their own. Initially you may sit beside the child. Read a story and as you see the child dozing off to sleep move away from the scene.The sole purpose if to move away before the child sleeps so that gradually they learn to sleep without your presence. Do not sing long lullabies or keep rocking the child, otherwise even if the child wakes up in the middle of the child the child will expect the same singing & rocking.
“Following these few steps ensures your child learns to sleep on their own. Gradually migrate to something more feasible for you and your child. If your child sleeps late as of now, do not panic, gradually try changing the sleep time gradually. Say if Shreyans sleeps at 11 PM, bring it to 10 and then 9 or 8 gradually. Speak to your child and tell them they are growing big and independent. Though their is no need to rush through things, having an independent and set sleep routine ensures the child is well rested.” Radha got answers to all her questions as Sneha added these last words.
Please share the sleep routine you follow for your child via a comment. It will help fellow mommies in developing a bedtime routine for their little bundle of joy!
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