Rituals benefit people of all ages, but babies in particular thrive on a daily sequence of events. The more regularity in a little one’s life, the greater the chance that the brain and body develop properly: this is an excellent reason for every parent to practice daily rituals with his or her bundle of joy.
Not only does a daily routine make the baby feel safe and comfortable, it also gives parents a beautiful way to bond with their newborn. Like any sort of ritual, it affords the opportunity to slow down, be present in the moment and connect on a soulful level with the tiny human being you are raising.
As a new parent, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a lack of sleep and round-the-clock responsibilities. This is why we suggest combining creating a ritual (one of the most empowering and meaningful things you can do with your child) with promoting a healthy night’s sleep.
Mommy the masseuse
Who doesn’t like a nice, long massage to relieve tension and completely relax muscles and mind? Babies are typically delighted by touch, and research indicates that a massage before bedtime helps them sleep better and can relieve stomach cramps. What follows are some simple instructions to get you started:
1. Lay your baby comfortably on his stomach, with his head turned to one side
2. Pour a few drops of baby oil on your hands, and rub them together to moisten and warm them up
3. Begin stroking from the forehead over the top of his head, then down to the nape of his neck
4. Massage across each shoulder from the center of the neck out to the arm, one side at a time
5. Run your fingertips down the back of your baby’s legs, then back up
6. Repeat this same motion along the backs of your baby’s arms
Baby + bath= bliss
Just like massage, baths are universally accepted as an easy way to de-stress. Unless your baby gets overly excited by bath time–splashing excessively and giggling are two things to watch for–then it’s a perfect activity to include in a night time ritual. Although they really only need bathed once or twice a week, if you use products that are specially designed for baby’s sensitive skin (the Tiny Rituals line is highly recommended!) you can do it more often and your little miracle will start to associate baths with sleeping.
Everybody loves a good story
You can never start too young when it comes to story time. Even though your baby won’t be able to follow the narrative, she will be soothed by her favourite sound—your voice. She fell asleep to it many, many times while inside the womb, after all. Additionally, studies show that the earliest exposure to vocabulary makes all children better prepared when it’s time for them to learn to read on their own. So, incorporating story time into baby’s nightly ritual is both calming and stimulating.
For anybody who struggles with sleep, a night-time ritual is one of the first things that medical professionals suggest. If your baby is a less-than-stellar sleeper, try using these tips and you’ll find that not only does it positively affect your baby’s health, it will also bring the two of you closer. By turning an everyday routine into moments of meaning, your bond will only get stronger.