3 Reasons to Switch Caregivers During the Bedtime RoutineOct 07, 2022
If you’ve been following along with me for a while, you’ll know that I am a huge proponent of a consistent bedtime routine. In fact, studies have shown that implementing a bedtime routine helps your baby to stay asleep longer, as well as decreases night-wakings .
If you’re overwhelmed creating a bedtime routine for your little one, remember that it can be as simple as 5 steps that last as little as 20 minutes. For some extra support and guidance on this or any other baby sleep needs, check out my baby sleep guides!
As important as a bedtime routine for your baby is though, if the same caregiver is participating in it night after night, it can become exhausting. If you are the caregiver that puts your baby down each night, I know it can often feel like you’re trapped in this cycle of being the only one putting baby down to sleep and then baby will only let you specifically put them down to sleep… so no one else tries, which can lead to feelings of resentment.
Here are 3 reasons to consider switching caregivers during your baby’s bedtime routine.
Benefits of Switching Up Caregivers During the Bedtime Routine
Breaks for Caregivers
No matter if you work from home, work in an office, or are a stay-at-home parent, the days can be long and everyone is tired by the end of it. Switching caregivers for the bedtime routine can be the reset button that you need! If you can, rotate evenings with your partner so you each have a bit of alone time every other night.
For single parents, I realize this is likely not an option. If you’re able to, include close friends, family, or siblings if and when possible. Or, have certain nights where you have a more in-depth routine including a bath and longer time to engage; and some nights where you keep it bare minimum and keep the focus on getting your little one into bed so you can have more time to focus on yourself. This means cutting the bath (try just using a warm washcloth on the face, hands, and feet!), skipping the books, and subbing for a couple of extra minutes of cuddles - whatever way you can streamline the bedtime process - and don’t feel guilty for it!
2. Consistency for Baby
When switching off caregivers, it’s best to keep the order of the bedtime routine the same each night, as well as your baby’s bedtime. I say it all the time, but consistency really is key to baby sleep. A consistent bedtime routine helps your baby to feel safe and secure before sleep and can show them that bedtime can be predictable - no matter who is putting them to bed that night.
Not only is this beneficial for baby, but if you and your partner want to go out for a date night or you’re having a night to yourself or with your other kids, you’ll know that bedtime will be a smooth experience for grandparents or the babysitter, etc. It’s a relief not to have to worry about how bedtime is going to go for someone new! If your baby is used to other people putting them to bed but knows that the routine will be the same no matter what, this can be one of the biggest game-changers for parents!
3. Bonding for Everyone
Naptime and bedtime routines can be a special time to bond with your little one. Involving others in putting your baby down for sleep lets your baby get to enjoy others, and others enjoy your baby. Maybe Dad reads a certain book with a funny voice, or Nana sings a special song. There are so many sweet moments that can happen during these routines and it’s special to let your loved ones experience them too!
How to Begin Switching Caregivers at Bedtime
If it is only you that does bedtime every night, you might be thinking that getting your baby on board with another person putting them to bed sounds impossible. This is normal! Babies get used to what they are introduced to, and if you putting them to bed each night is what they are used to it could be difficult to make a switch at first.
As I mentioned earlier, the key to this is consistency! Keeping the order of the bedtime routine the same (i.e. bath, jammies, book, song, cuddle, into bed awake) as well as putting your baby to bed at the same time each night will bring the most success. You’ll also want to keep the routine simple enough that each caregiver can implement it easily. You can also try to keep the switching of caregivers consistent - maybe it’s the same day every week or every other night.
If you’re not sure how your little one will respond to having someone else (i.e. your spouse) put them to bed, try including your spouse in the routine with you for a few nights in a row. This will help your spouse become familiar with the routine and your baby will get used to having them participate. When both of you are ready, try switching off for the night. If it doesn’t go as smoothly as you hoped, that’s okay! Keep trying, be consistent, and you’ll see that your baby will adjust to the change.
What does bedtime look like in your house? Is one parent always doing bedtime? Do you wish it were different? Each family is different, and if switching caregivers at bedtime is not an option or would not be best for you, that’s okay, too! It’s important to do what is best for you and your little one.
If you wish things were different and find yourself still struggling with your little one’s sleep, please know that you are not alone and that I am here to help. Check out my FREE Sleep Tips or for comprehensive help, download one of my comprehensive sleep guides for step-by-step support.
Need help transforming your child's sleep? Check out my sleep offerings for children 0-3 years old!
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