It’s never too early to create bedtime rituals and routines. A relaxing routine for baby makes bedtime an enjoyable and peaceful time for the entire family. You might begin a bedtime routine for your little one with a warm bath and massage. Follow up by reading Beddy-bye, Baby and letting your child explore the touch-and-feel pages. Then, dim the lights and lull him to sleep with a soothing lullaby.
Before, During and After Reading
Create a bedtime routine for baby with a calm bath and massage. Dim the lights and use a quiet peaceful tone as you place your baby in the water. As you wash him, take time to slowly massage his hands and arms. Open up his hand with your thumb and softly rub the palm and top of his hand. Then work your way up each finger with your index finger and thumb. You can also pay close attention to his wrists and arms all the way up to his shoulders. Gently holding his wrist in one hand, use your other hand to rub from his wrist to his shoulder and then rub around his shoulder in a circular motion.
Massaging baby’s hands and arms will help him to become more aware of his hands and their movements, helping with the fine motor skills that will be needed later on for writing. Think of washing and massaging your baby as a way to wake up his senses.
If your baby doesn’t enjoy bath time, leave it out. Babies don’t need to be bathed more than once or twice a week, so don’t feel bad if you need to skip this experience. Instead, when you change your baby’s diaper before bed, use lotion to give him a gentle massage. Follow the same steps to rub your baby’s hands and arms.
After your baby’s bath, find a comfy spot in his room to sit and read. Explore the front of the book and the fuzzy bear. You might say:
This baby is going to bed. He has his fuzzy bear. Let’s see how it feels.
As you read, touch and name familiar objects or routines. Help him to reach and feel the touch-and-feel spot on each page and describe what he is feeling. You might say:
That duck feels squishy.
The bear’s tummy is fuzzy like your teddy bear.
Watch your baby’s cues and move at his pace. He might take longer to look at the illustrations on the pages that catch his attention. When he does, be sure to take time to talk about what he is focused on.
A sweet and soft lullaby is always a great way to help relax your baby and get him ready for sleep. After you have read your story together, turn down the lights and sing him this rendition of Brahms Lullaby as you gently rock or sway with him. The rhyme in the lyrics will not only help him to begin to hear patterns in speech but also create a sleepy melody which will help lull him to sleep.
Lullaby and good night, go to sleep my sweet baby
Close your eyes don’t you cry, not a tear in your eye
Lullaby and goodnight, go to sleep my sweet baby
When the morning is near, I will wake you my dear.
Explore more recommended children’s books for babies and infants from birth to five months of age. Or, find an easy at-home activity designed to build pre-reading skills in your baby.