As sleep consultants, we get a lot of questions about bedtime routines for babies and children. We know that a pre-sleep routine is SO important to signal to our children that it is time for sleep. One of our most common questions is…does a bath have to be a part of my child’s bedtime routine?
Our answer to this question is no! Not if you don’t want it to be. It is definitely not a part of our children’s bedtime routines as our days are so busy that we can barely even manage giving baths every couple of days! In both of our households, Pam and I tend to do morning or early afternoon baths or whenever we can fit them in! If you have an early riser, you may find a bath in the morning just fits your schedule better.
Parenting life= busy life
We understand that evenings can get very busy. Getting home from work or school/childcare, getting dinner ready, homework, spending time together, etc. Plus, add time for any evening activities your children may have! Then it is a rush to get them to bed on time!
We would rather have you get your children to bed at a good time rather than push bedtime later to get that bath in every single night.
For some little ones, a bath can be nice and relaxing whereas for some other children, it can rev them up making them even more hyper which is definitely not what you want before bed! You would have to see how your child does with having a bath before bedtime and figure out whether or not it can be part of your bedtime routine from there! Bath was never a part of our nightly routine however, when my son was younger, I found that the times I did give my son a bath before bed, he had a harder time settling down that night. Baths make him hyper no matter what I do to make it a calming experience!
What can you do as a part of your pre-sleep routine that does not include a bath?
- You can do a baby massage
- You can read a book
- Sing some lullabyes
- If your child is of speaking age, have some one-one-one talk time (bedtime can be just the time your older child wants to tell you all about their day!)
But I WANT my child to be clean!
If you really feel your child needs a cleaning every night, for instance in the summer you may find they are just too dirty from playing outside all day-do a quick clean up! Instead of filling up the tub and getting all the bath toys out, you could do a wipe down with a warm wet washcloth (or hey even baby wipes if you must!) or even a quick ‘shower’ if you have a hand held shower head. The key would be to keep it quick and simple- so maybe washing hair can be optional every other night. 🙂
No guilt parenting!
We want you to know that you should not feel guilty if you can’t make bath time part of the bedtime routine! We all lead busy lives! If you are parents that work out of the home and you have later schedules, there may just not be any time to give your child a bath every night before bed. And you know what? That is okay!
Need sleep routine help?
Want more info on bedtime routines? Check out this blog post here and make sure to check out our new weekly podcasts- you can find all the info here. We did a podcast about routines that you can listen to right here.
Need help figuring out a bedtime routine or help getting your child to sleep at night? Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation or check out our services page to see how we can help you and your family sleep better!