A lot of first-time parents make the mistake of not starting a baby sleep schedule.
Figuring they'll enjoy as much time as they possibly can with baby during her first few months, they shy away from creating a routine, dismissing the notice as old fashion. A year or two down the road, however, these same parents often find themselves at a loss on how to get an irritable toddler into bed.
It is then the light bulb shines bright and they look jealously at other parents who report that thanks to their baby sleep schedule they only have minor problems getting their little ones off to dreamland. The importance of a schedule goes beyond simply parents' convenience (or inconvenience)!
Remember, setting up a good schedule can take some work, ritual and even elbow grease at first.
When baby gets used to a routine of, for example, waking at 7, napping at noon and going to bed at 8, everyone benefits.
Here are 5 more good reasons to start a baby sleep schedule …
It's better for baby's nature. Babies grow at a tremendous pace. They simply need their sleep and a whole lot of it. When they do not get it, everyone pays. If they do get the rest they really need and it's adhered to as much as possible, baby benefits the most. It helps baby feel secure. When a baby sleep schedule and bedtime routine are brought into play, she always knows what to expect. While she might not always like it, the routine is a comfort for a baby – even a tiny one.
A schedule can help parents function better. Although new parents sometimes have trouble working their lives around a sleep plan, having one is easier to deal with than not in most cases. While the plan does not have to be etched in stone every night, it does provide a framework for setting work and activity agendas.
Daycares love them. It is simply much easier for childcare workers to do their jobs when a good routine is established. In some cases, the hours may need to be adjusted to accommodate a daycare's schedule. The long and short of it is that daycares need babies to be on a good sleep schedule to enable workers to do other important tasks while babies snooze.
It helps establish a routine. When a plan is created, it can help with establishing routine as it gets older. Children tend to remain on sleep schedules for many years (and some adults even keep them, too). The more routine a set bedtime becomes, generally the better baby and everyone around her functions in the days and years ahead.
Putting a baby who has not been on a schedule on one can take some work. But the benefits are many. Set the times, create a routine and remember to be a little flexible as she grows.
Also, keep in mind that a 2-year-old will need a different schedule than a 6-month-old. So, adjust your routine to your child's age. Most parents who avoid the idea of a sleep routine on their first child and then establish one with the second find themselves wondering why they did not take the action in the first place.
The reality is a baby sleep schedule benefits everyone, especially your baby.