In our work with families over the years, we’ve discovered that often, one parent handles the baby’s bedtime routine. One parent does the rocking, one parent does the reading, one parent does the tucking…you get the idea.
We’ve also discovered, however, that most parents would welcome some help from their partner at bedtime! And many partners would welcome the chance to tuck their little ones in on a regular basis. After all, bedtime provides the opportunity for some quality, one-on-one time between parent and child.
Of course, we understand that in many situations, one parent has to be involved at least somewhat in the bedtime routine. Moms who breastfeed, for instance, will need to nurse at bedtime. And some babies really prefer one parent over another at bedtime. However, as much as you can, try to encourage your partner to be part of the bedtime routine. This will ensure that both of you share the workload, and that both of you have the chance to enjoy baby at bedtime.
3 Steps to Help Your Partner Put Baby to Bed
- Cue your partner in on important information. If they’re going to be any help at all, your partner needs to know all the vital bedtime information. When is bedtime? What’s usually involved in the bedtime routine? Sharing this info will help set your partner up for bedtime success, and will ensure that your partner feels like part of the team. And don’t forget to share the little details — does your daughter have a favorite pair of PJs? Does your son like to sleep with the lamp on? Your partner will need to know these things, too.
- Take a tag-team approach. This is especially helpful for moms who need to nurse at bedtime. If that’s the case for you, consider having your partner start the bedtime routine. Maybe your partner could be in charge of the bath and story time; then, you could step in at the end and nurse. Or perhaps you could nurse, and then hand the baby off to your partner for some rocking and lullabies. Taking a tag-team approach allows you to be available for the parts of the routine that you have to do (like nursing), while still ensuring that your partner has a role to play, too. This is a great approach to take if your baby is reluctant to be put to bed by your partner, too. By splitting up the bedtime routine, you gently help your baby get used to having your partner be involved.
- Help your partner feel confident. If you’ve been handling bedtime on your own, your partner may (understandably) feel less than confident about handling parts of the bedtime routine on his/her own. Help your partner feel more confident by not hovering (or perhaps even leaving the house altogether for a little bit!) And be sure to leave plenty of room for your partner to customize the bedtime routine, too, and to do things in his/her own way. This will go a long way towards increasing your partner’s confidence, and in helping your partner enjoy being part of the bedtime routine. And, try not to “rescue” your baby. Having your partner follow through 100% will promote confidence in both of them!
How have you helped your partner or spouse get involved in the bedtime routine? Share your tips with the rest of us!
Need help in creating a bedtime routine that involves both parents and that maximizes your baby’s sleep? Please be sure to pick up your FREE copy of 5 (tear-free) Ways to Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night, our e-Book with tear-free tips to help your baby sleep better. For those persistent nighttime struggles, check out The 3-Step System to Help Your Baby Sleep (babies) or The 5-Step System to Better Toddler Sleep (toddlers). Using a unique approach and practical tools for success, our e-books help you and your baby sleep through the night and nap better. For those looking for a more customized solution for your unique situation with support along the way, please consider one-on-one baby and toddler sleep consultations, where you will receive a Personalized Sleep Plan™ you can feel good about! Sometimes it’s not that you can’t make a plan. Sometimes you’re just too tired to.