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6 Bedtime Routine Ideas

A consistent bedtime routine can be life-changing for your baby’s sleep. Not only does it help baby wind down, but it signals to your little snoozer that it’s time to go to bed.

Life with baby is hectic, though. So hectic that you might not have time to plan out a long, elaborate bedtime routine with multiple steps, an intermission, a shadow puppet show and  sleep-themed interpretive dance.

Thankfully, a simple bedtime routine that lasts 15 minutes or so is all you really need. In fact, just a few rituals every night can do the trick.

Here are six quick and easy ideas to implement before bedtime to get baby ready for sleep:

  1. Repetition

Baby’s ordinary pre-sleep activities can all become part of the bedtime routine – from getting cleaned up and putting on pj’s to changing the diaper and heading to the nursery. Consistency is important. Try repeating the steps in the same order every night. You can even narrate each step as you go along in your best “it’s almost time to go to bed” voice (“Now we’re going to clean up…now we’re going to put on our comfy pj’s…now we’re going to go to sleep…”).

  1. Mood lighting

Darkness is oh-so important for baby’s zzz’s. Dimming the lights in the house before bedtime is a simple step that lets baby know that the time to sleep is approaching.

  1. Spa time

There’s nothing more relaxing than a little tub time, whether you’re 4 months old or 40! A bath or massage is a great way to relax and pamper baby before bedtime.

  1. Soothing sounds

What better way to lull baby to sleep than with a lullaby? Play a favorite or channel your inner Celine Dion and sing one yourself. After all, your voice is music to baby’s ears (even if the general public doesn’t agree!). White noise can also be incorporated into baby’s regular routine. The simple act of turning it on can cue to baby that it’s time to sleep. 

  1. Bedtime books

Storytime is the perfect time for both you and baby to chillax and bond after a busy day. Pick a favorite book from the shelf or make up your own tale with baby as the main character. Need some inspiration? Take a look at our staff’s all-time favorite bedtime books.

  1. Final thoughts

Some families recap the day’s events and then say “nighty-night.” Some say a little prayer. Some simply say, “I love you.” Whatever you choose, a few loving words repeated every night can become one of the most cherished parts of your baby’s bedtime routine.

Want more bedtime tips for baby? Check out our advice for creating a bedtime routine here.

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Diana Aydin
Diana Aydin

Diana is an editor and writer based in New York City, and she frequently writes about health, parenting and everything babies. She’s been a fan of sleep since the early 1980s.