Routines give your baby a sense of security and confidence. From mealtimes and playtime to bath time and nap time, here’s everything you need to know about routines to incorporate into your baby's day and the benefits they can bring. Bonus: mamas and papas gain some sanity too!
WORDS LOW LAI CHOW
A is for…
Adapt. Baby routines, after all, are for the baby. While this may sound obvious, get to know baby during his first few months, then take it from there. According to Jacki Roche, a midwife and health visitor whom parents turn to for help with the development of their babies and tots at The Mother & Child Centre in Tanglin Mall, this approach works best: “I always advise responding to babies’ needs and attachment parenting up until four to five months, if possible — working mums, twins, postnatal depression are exceptions.”
B is for…
Bath Time. Some babies absolutely adore the water, and a warm bath can get your baby clean, as well as relax him.
Towel cuddles and gentle scalp massages will almost certainly put your
baby in the mood for some serious shuteye afterwards.
Roche says bath time can act as “a cue to alert your baby it’s time for bed”; a short bath can be part of a bedtime routine.
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C is for…
Consistency. Routines are soothing for a reason: the predictability makes your baby feel safe. Inconsistency can create confusion for your baby, which in turn sabotages the efficacy of the routine. “Consistency is key when it comes to routines,” says Roche. However, even if a routine is temporarily disrupted, it can easily be re-established again.
D is for…
Development. Childhood experts agree that babies learn so quickly, routines can aid their developmental leaps. As your baby learns it’s time to head for bed instead of playing, he is learning to follow rules, according to Larry Shapiro, who wrote The Secret Language of Children: How to Understand What Your Kids Are Really Saying. Likewise, The Happiest Baby on the Block author Harvey Karp puts it this way: "If you spend your entire work day mastering new tasks, you appreciate your regular coffee breaks."
E is for…
Eat As a Family. To help your baby get used to mealtime routines, eat together. Why? Babies are social. “Always try to eat with babies as it’s a sociable activity. They role model us, so they tend to eat better when eating in company,” says Roche.
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