Why Starting Routines At an Early Age Is Important

My name is Kensey Butkevich and I am a Certified Sleep Coach, Board Certified Behaviour Analyst and founder of Sleep Easy Clinic. I help children sleep more & teach new skills to decrease their behaviour!

As a new parent, it can be overwhelming to know when to start supporting your baby’s sleep. What should the environment look like? How do I dress them? Do I do a bath or no bath before bed? Should I feed them to sleep? 

This list can go on and on and lead to self-doubt and wonder.

My number one tip for new parents is to breathe. Followed by starting simple and creating a routine that works for what is happening now.

Let’s use this analogy: You had your parents over for dinner and all of a sudden they got up and left. You would be left wondering what happened, were they offended, why did they leave? It is the same with a baby and a routine. If you suddenly pick them up and put them in their crib for a nap they think, hmmm, we were just playing and now I’m in my crib, what happened? I want to keep playing. But if you have a great routine in place they know, Oh okay, we are getting ready for a nap. I’ll be put in my crib soon. See the difference? 

Starting Routines Early:

Routines can be started on day 1! I know, that thought alone may have you being like, “um, thanks, but no thanks”! But hear me out. Research has shown that by starting a routine early in a child’s life it supports their:

  • Development
  • Emotional regulation &
  • Sleep!

  • Babies are born with a natural knowledge of the basics of language and music. Incorporating a song into a routine is something easy that will cue a newborn to what to expect next. Think about how your baby has stopped crying because they hear your voice or with a certain song you sing or hum. Newborns know a lot more than parents think from the very beginning. 

    Routines for sleep are especially important, even for newborns. People often think of sleep training as a method to use for older children but sleep training at the newborn stage is all about setting healthy sleep foundations so when the baby is developmentally ready they have an easier time learning independent sleep skills, connecting sleep cycles, and getting good sleep. 

    Routines Set Expectations:

    Routines are all about setting the stage for the transition that is to come. Each step cues the next, easing your child and yourself into the change. When a routine is done consistently your child will know what is expected without you having to say a thing! Amazing, right!? 

    Starting routines at an early age is important because it sets the stage for your expectations. 

    When it comes to routines and newborns, early on, the routine is really for you. Routines you create will help keep you moving through what you need to do.

    Let’s be honest, as a new parent your days are a blur. You feel like its constant Groundhog Day. The same thing day in and day out. Add an extra layer to it if you and your little one are struggling with sleep. It can feel daunting going into the next thing you need to do.

    Routines can help take the panic and frustration out of what is happening. Routines are predictable which results in everyone feeling calm and secure.

    4 Key Elements to a Great Routine:

    Starting routines early helps set the stage for sleep so everyone is relaxed and your little has all of their needs met. Routines don’t have to be perfect but they should include these 4 key elements:

  • Nutrition: Feeding
  • Hygiene: Diaper change, bath
  • Physical Contact: Massage, hugs and kisses
  • Communication: Reading, a song

  • Routines help create an organized rhythm to a household, moving forward knowing what you need to do. When you do routines consistently your brain and your littles brain can pause with thinking and problem-solving. 

    Routines help create a sense of auto-drive, it becomes a habit, an important thing that is a part of your day and family. It is never too late to start. Pick your favourites from the list above and start implementing your routine today.  In a few days, when you and your little one are adjusted you’ll be happy you did! 

    As a FREE gift to you and a thank you to Dreamland for having me as their guest, I am including a NEWBORN GUIDE here. It is a 50+ page guide that covers EVERYTHING sleep-related, you have a lot going on with a newborn and worrying about sleep shouldn't be one of those! Check Sleep Easy out at sleepeasyclinic.com and on IG @sleep.easy.clinic

    Be sure to use KENSEY15 when you get your Dreamland swaddle, sleep sack, or blanket!!

    Happy Sleeping

    Kensey is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst & Certified Child Sleep Consultant with over 12 years of clinical experience in parent coaching. She empowers parents in supporting their children's sleep needs taking into consideration a child's temperament, development, & parent values and goals. Kensey believes that sleep shaping is about supporting children in a way that complements their unique progressions, so you can feel restful not stressful. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her son and partner.

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