Introducing a Routine
All families need some type of routine to establish normalcy, a way to get things done and a sense of security. Children often fear the unknown – whether it’s the broccoli on their plate – or a big life change like moving to a different house or gaining a new sibling. While change is a learning opportunity, it can also be stressful for children. A normal routine brings comfort and consistency to a child’s life.
The first question that comes to your mind is when to introduce a routine? Is it too early?
Would my baby understand?
Its never too early
Getting your baby into a routine with regular naps, feeds, and fun activities can make life easier for both mother and toddler
Some theories say its very important to introduce the routine when the baby is as old as 2 months to 4 months age
Some wonderful tips to introduce a routine to begin with:
➡️ Teach your baby the difference between night and day
You may find that your baby sleeps for long stretches during the day, only to perk up at night-time. Change your baby’s clothes before bed, and again when they wake up to show them when the day ends, and when a new one begins. Keep your house bright and noisy during the day, but dim and quiet at night.
These changes will give them a chance to learn that night's for sleeping.
➡️ Introduce a bedtime routine
You can start to establish a predictable bedtime routine from about two months. This will teach your baby to go to sleep at the same time each night, although it may take a while for them to catch on
Keep the bedtime routine as simple as possible:
Some useful tips:
giving them a bath
putting on their nightsuit
reading a short bedtime story
offering a breastfeed or bottle-feed to very little ones
placing them down and saying goodnight or singing a lullaby
some children like lullaby music too playing in the room
Don't let the routine go on for longer than about 20 minutes to 30 minutes. After this, your baby may become over-stimulated, and you'll have to start all over again.
➡️ Put your baby’s routine first
It’s best to keep your baby’s routine as consistent as possible, especially while they're still getting used to it. By making your baby your number-one priority, you'll help them to understand that certain things happen at particular times.
➡️ Expect changes during growth spurts and milestones
Your baby will accomplish so much in their first year. They'll nearly triple their weight, and you'll see them achieve major developmental milestones like sitting, crawling, and maybe even walking.
There'll be times when your baby grows and ticks off milestones faster than others. And you're likely to be in for some disruption to their routine during these growth spurts.
They may be particularly likely to have a growth spurt at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and so on…
During these times, they may sleep for longer, or they may wake upmore times a night. You may also find that they're hungrier than usual.
➡️ Adjust your baby’s routine to suit their age
Once you’ve got into a predictable pattern with your baby, it may feel like no time at all before it’s time to change it again! As your baby gets older, they’ll need fewer daytime naps and more playtime and stimulation.
➡️ Don’t expect perfection!
Your baby’s routine won't always run like clockwork. Although babies like consistency, you can expect changes from day to day and as your baby grows.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, your baby will want to skip a nap, have an extra feed or wake up early. This could just be a one-off, or it may be linked to a new tooth coming through or a minor illness like a cold.
An occasional break shouldn’t cause too much disruption to your baby’s routine. Just pick up as usual when you can, and remember that every mum faces the same challenges. You aren't alone!