The comeback of the night-time routine
When I had a new born or a baby that wanted to party her way through the night I put a lot of thought and emphasis on the nighttime routine. Set routines and schedules of what we would do and when. A way to wind down the day as much for me as it was the girls.
It was the time of day where I stopped the busyness, read stories, give a little massage and rocked to sleep. I knew all the benefits to sleep and brain development and wanted to really invest in this time.
When I went back to work though as much as I was filled with the best intentions, the routines lost a few sections and took more of a 'bath and story' route. I am not naive to the fact that what the baby books advice and what fits in with actual 21st century reality can sometimes contradict.
Now on to the point I'm trying to make and a little U-turn moment for me so to speak was a day I spent with the team at Johnson's and learning about the science of senses. I related to a lot of it, thought back to those early days and when I heard that baby massage and touch is proven to reduce anxiety in both mother and baby I absolutely experienced that. However a trigger word in there was anxiety.
May sound like a strong word to be linking with my 5 year old but we all have anxious moments in our lives and combining the new experience of starting school with the impending house move to somewhere she views as 'dirty and without even toilets' I can understand why they are pretty big worries to a little mind.
I also read recently that heightened emotions and tantrums can come to head when the child is around people they feel safe after holding in worries or fears at an earlier time, they just don't know how to communicate these fears yet. Combining this with night wakening after years of being a 7pm-6am sleeper (no matter how late the bedtime it's always 6am) I knew that I needed to think of other ways to soothe her and let her chat about her wee thoughts.
The science of senses and link to familiar smells, touch and interaction prompted me to go back to giving a little more time for the bedtime routine for both the girls, they still had their regular bath which they have been used to with our favourite Johnson's Baby Bedtime Bath but after I give both girls a little foot and leg massage with the Bedtime Baby Oil while they lay chatting. It removed all distractions and slowed everyone down (not easy with two little ones that have A LOT more energy than I have at that time of night) and I got to talk properly about their days. Foot and leg massages have now turned into back massages too (give them an inch and they take a mile) but I can't explain the change in mood and sleep. I still welcome that night time wandering cuddle but it's not the upset and stressed style that it was.
Time, touch, familiar smells, routine and interaction. Stimulating the senses and as important in growing minds as it is in those early days. The brain is so active in early childhood that half of the calories consumed by a 5 year old are used to fuel it, I think that's crazy but even more reason we need to nurture it and create healthy habits and self care rituals that will hopefully grow with our children.
I hope that when either of my girls smell the familiar smell of Johnson's Baby Bedtime they feel the comfort and reassurance I have been giving them throughout the years.
I would love to hear what the bedtime routine is in your house especially as the years go on from those newborn, early days.
*This post is sponsored by Johnson's and I'm very grateful for the training that I've got to experience as part of their ambassador program. I have always used Johnson's products from birth on both my girls, I would be using these products whether I was working with Johnson's or not. (AD)