Babies rely on routine to keep them calm, happy and comfortable—three things we all need for some satisfying snooze time. But too often bedtime can feel like chaos when you’re dealing with a fussy or overtired tot who’s fighting sleep. Don’t worry: It’s never too late to pick up some nighttime habits that will help both of you wind down at the end of a long day. The key is creating a consistent evening ritual that baby starts to expect. Start with these four sensory cues that signal slumber-time, then enlist just the right gear from Fisher-Price to make it all happen.
Cue 1: Touch
Nothing calms babies quite like a parent’s touch. Try giving her the spa treatment with a warm bath and a light massage right before bedtime to raise her body temperature and make her feel sleepy. Baby will quickly learn that this relaxation time means it’s almost bedtime. Afterward, put on her pajamas and get ready for some serious snuggling.
Cue 2: Light
As soon as it’s time to hit the nursery, dim the lights. This is super important if baby is experiencing day/night confusion. Newborns can’t tell time, bright light during the day and darkness at night are what get their internal clocks on the right track. Keep the lights low from bedtime until morning, especially during late-night feedings or changes, because suddenly flicking on a lamp wakes up baby completely, making it harder for him to fall back asleep. The Fisher-Price Smart Connect Deluxe Soother acts as a relaxing night-light that projects mesmerizing patterns on the walls and ceiling to create a cozy and comforting environment for baby, in addition to providing a little extra lighting for you. You can even control it remotely with your smartphone.
Cue 3: Sound
Anyone who’s ever had the doorbell wake a sleeping baby can tell you how sensitive infants are to sound. When it’s almost bedtime, try talking in soft, low tones to signal it’s time for sleep. Babies also pick up on repetition, so reading the same story or singing the same lullaby every night creates a comforting routine that baby will eventually learn means bedtime. And while you might think he needs complete silence to sleep through the night, it’s actually better to provide a little white noise to drown out any unexpected sounds from outside the nursery. The Fisher-Price Music & Lights Elephant plays ocean, rain and nature sounds, plus relaxing music, so you can choose what baby likes best.
Cue 4: Motion
There’s a reason “Rock-a-bye Baby” is such a popular lullaby, despite the strange lyrics (seriously, who would stick a cradle in a tree?). Of course babies love a little gentle rocking! As a last step before putting her down to sleep, have some snuggle time on a glider chair or slowly dance around the room together. This soothing, repetitive motion will have her dozing in no time. If baby is sleeping in your room, use a smart sleeper like the Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Bassinet, which uses all four of these cues to help her fall—and stay—asleep. Its gentle swaying and vibrating motions, combined with calming lights and sounds, will get you both caught up on quality z’s in no time.