Bedtime Rituals

Sleep is very important to a child’s well being, that’s what my mom believed in. I remember, it was mandatory for us, as kids to sleep in the afternoons after coming back home from school and likewise we had a fixed time to sleep at night too. She believed that when we have had a good rest, we were more alert and in a better mood (read less cranky and irritable for her to handle the three of us) and of course it was good for our overall physical and mental development as well. She learnt from experience that a sleep deprived child cries at everything and nothing makes her happy. The child is not able to cope with life around her when she is tired and this in turn makes her and even those around her miserable.

So, a good bed routine is important and crucial because no child will ever come and say, “I am tired and I want to sleep!”

When Aaryan came in our lives, fortunately my mom was with me. Her experience of bringing up three kids coupled with my acquired knowledge from baby books and internet, we teamed together to bring up the apple of our eyes!

When Aaryan was as young as 6 weeks old, we started with our bedtime rituals for him. By that time, I had some experience as a young mom and knew how to handle my child too.

Swaddling and Aaryan

Swaddled Aaryan with his Dad

When he was a toddler, a massage followed by a nice warm bath and feed would put him to sleep for long hours during the day. And in the evenings, after freshening him up and taking care of his food needs, we’d again put him to sleep. Aaryan was born in Mumbai. His Maharashtrian massage maid after giving him his daily bath would tie him up in a cloth so that movement of his limbs were restricted. She said that this process, which internet told me is called Swaddling, settled and soothed the child and helped him to sleep longer with fewer awakenings. This was a boon for us. We practised this till Aaryan was old and strong enough to wriggle out of it on his own and/or would not let us swaddle him at all.

As he grew older, we changed the sleeping schedule but the naps in the afternoon and a fixed sleeping time at night were a constant.

After coming from play school/school, he’d have his lunch and sleep for an hour and a half. A quiet and a dark room helped him to sleep faster. When he was very tired, he’d sleep immediately, if not, indulging him in a chat about his day at school for a few minutes and/or sharing a story would put him to sleep soon.

The evening bedtime routines were a bit elaborate though. It started with a bath /wash after the evening outdoor play followed by dinner and then half an hour of Cartoon Network.

By 8 pm, he would be sent to brush his teeth and change into night wear. He would then pick up a book which he’d want me to read to him. I would then read him stories from a large collection of books that I was buying since he was a toddler. Usually, he’d sleep before one story got over but there were days, which were many actually, when he’d say, ‘one more story’ and that could go on up to 4-6 stories! Sometimes, he’d tell me his version of stories which were very imaginative. I remember once he asked me “Why don’t you sing me a lullaby. Hitesh’s mom sings him one every night”. I was taken aback. I didn’t knew a single lullaby. But then internet came to my rescue once again. I practiced one the whole day and sang one for him later in the evening. My then 4 year old son, sweetly stopped me and asked me to read out a story. That was the first and probably the last lullaby that I ever sang to my child!

I have realized that setting bedtime rituals for a child is very important. It adds to the consistency and predictability in a child’s life which is so very crucial. And also because a good night sleep,  in fact is as important as nutrition.  It helps him to grow well and boost his memory, cognitive skills along with creativity and energy level. Also a well rested child is always a happy child!!

So, what bedtime rituals do you follow with your children?

This post is written for Indiblogger and Pampers

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15 thoughts on “Bedtime Rituals

  1. Shilpa, this brought back memories of my children. Both my kids went through similar routines and the massage and swaddling was just magic. The rituals we have in India may seem old fashioned but they work wonders. Loved your post.

    • Same here. Suzy! This post took me back in time too!! I know, I was shocked when our maid tied Aaryan in a cloth. But then I saw its effect on the baby’s sleep pattern and I was sold to the idea. Thanks Suzy, glad you enjoyed reading this post!

    • You bet. Specialists say that babies thrive best on a routine. Routines are comforting and they’re a stabilizing force in the life of even an infant and of course, they bring some sanity in a new mother’s life too 🙂

  2. So true about having an established routine! I’d say, having a routine helps not only in the sleep department, but also in other aspects like food or play. As for me, despite having a routine, I struggled with my child’s sleep patterns when he was an infant. He was only to happy to fight all the sleep. Things eased slowly and surely and now we have our bedtime story ritual too 🙂

    • Agree completely! Having routines for sleep, food, play time, study time is important. Adjusting to the routine is a bit difficult initially but once it is set, life’s easier for both the baby and the mother. Glad that it eventually worked out with your son, Uma 🙂

    • Giving massage to a baby is a sort of tradition in India and it has a lot of health benefits too. Aha! To sleep immediately after getting into a bed is a blessing! You must thank your parents for this gift 🙂

    • I know what you mean, Bikram! Even I stop and think about how different the world that we live in today is, compared to when we were kids? Yes, our kids have it too easy and yes, they are pampered way too much as compared to us 🙂

  3. Shilpa I could relate to what you are talking, the similar rituals was also initiated by my mom and later on by my mil for both the kids, now that my daughter is 14 it has not been easy for me to continue the same rituals, as she comes up with some projects and uses the internet and I keep reminding each time that its time and she must stop, which she does not like, when they are small, its not so difficult, when they grow up it takes a lot of patience as at the end of the day I am also tired, and sometimes she wants me to read,wherein I find it difficult, I waiting for these phase to pass and trying my best to keep to the ritual..

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