Maintaining Bedtime Routines in Childcare Centres

Babies and children respond very well to familiar routines and the bedtime routine is something that you might want to establish in the early months, as you start to get back into a regular pattern with your own day. All babies are different and you will instinctively come to learn the signs when your baby is tired and you can soothe them, creating a calming atmosphere to encourage them to settle. Even while your baby is still very young it is good to begin building the foundations for a good bedtime routine by using bath-time and lullabies or time with a comforter for your little one to start making the right associations with sleepy time.

Routines and childcare centres

With babies and toddlers who have already established their nap-time routines, you could be forgiven for worrying that this may all be undone when your child joins an early learning or childcare centre. However, most modern centres are very well prepared for this, taking individual routines into consideration during the daily scheduling. Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning Centres ask the parents of babies attending their ‘Snuggly Steamers’ rooms (from 6 weeks to 1 year) to write their routines in the daily book provided, and then at the end of the day, they can read about their baby’s eating, sleeping and playing for the day.

Sleeping through the night

Soon your child’s need for naps and night feeds will slow down and you can begin to concentrate on a sleep routine that should see them settle at bedtime, and hopefully throughout the night. A successful routine is all about making your child feel secure. Removing any uncertainty with a regular routine allows your little one to feel in control, knowing exactly what to expect at the end of each day. It is important to make a routine that will work for both of you now, and as your child grows, so the sequence of events need to feel natural to you and follow a sensible order, as this will be easiest to maintain.

A few ideas you can include in your routine (or whatever work for you!)

  • Try to set a time to start your routine each day
  • Wind down first with quiet play
  • A warm bubble bath with a cloth book or calming bath toy
  • Get dressed for bed in snuggly pyjamas or a favourite nightdress
  • Play relaxing music or sing lullabies
  • Read a bedtime story, nothing too animated or exciting
  • Add a teddy bear or a comfort blanket
  • Have a good night saying, “Nighty-night trilobite” “Sleep tight little Prince” “Sleep well Tinkerbell” This helps to link a positive association with you leaving the room, rather than a negative one.

So whatever your unique routine might be, you can work towards sleeping well at night and enjoying each day with your bright and breezy little learner. You sleep tight tonight!