One of the worries I see in my role as a Sleep Coach, is that little one is going to be  put into a strict routine, which won’t be flexible enough for the family and their busy lives.  

Other concerns when it comes to routines include: 

  • How to work around school or nursery pick ups and drop offs, when there are older  siblings involved;
  • Parents or carers being able to spend time with their baby after work and before  bedtime;
  • A mixed childcare scenario, where baby is at home a few days a week, but  elsewhere (like nursery or grandparents’ house) on other days.

Evidence shows that babies (and adults) absolutely thrive on routine. And there are  certain behavioural temperaments that even demand routine. Marked improvements in sleep, and little one’s behaviour/mood/etc., can be seen with the implementation of  routine, and little one’s often feel more secure when there is a certain rhythm to their  day, when they know what is coming next. This means predictable eating and sleeping patterns throughout their day.  

Having a routine in place that fits with baby’s age and sleep needs can also avoid  the dreaded overtiredness. This is when little one’s have gone past the point of tired, and are now ‘wired’ or ‘hyper’, often refusing sleep and/or waking up several times at  nap time or night time.  

However, this doesn’t mean that flexibility isn’t an option if you want good, solid sleep.  Often a baby’s daytime routine can be adapted to fit into the specific lifestyle  demands of a family – for example, a school run that falls at nap time or a special summer holiday.  

Nevertheless, there are ways to create some consistency, and also provide an  environment conducive to restful sleep. For example: 

  • Use the pram, buggy or car to your advantage. Not every nap should be a motion  nap – but it’s fine if it’s used for one nap a day (or every once in a while) • Use the same sleeping bag when napping in the pram (as the cot) and dress them  in comfortable clothing 
  • Use white noise to block out unwanted sounds that might startle baby during their  sleep time. You can get brilliant equipment that straps to your buggy
  • Use a car sea canopy or sun shade if naps are taking place in the car…
  • … or a Snoozeshade on the pram. These are great for blocking out light (which  triggers baby to wake) and signalling sleepy time to baby  

If baby has a slightly different routine at nursery or the childminders, as long as it’s  within 30mins to one hour of the routine you follow, don’t worry too much. If they nap  for shorter periods during the day there, you might want to make bedtime slightly earlier on childcare days to avoid overtiredness. Anything up to an hour before their  usual bedtime is fine.  

When working with families, I ensure that the recommended routine fits the age and  temperament of the little one, but also works for the family as a whole. When it comes  to sleep training, consistency is key, and so we need to make sure the routine works  for the long-term, not just the short-term, whilst working together. What I always  recommend is anchoring the day at either end – starting the day and ending the day at a consistent time. This is something easy for the parents to focus on. Naps can  then shift according to wake windows and needs.  

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss the perfect routine for your little  one, book a free Discovery Call or email me: