Three under 3. Yes, three children in the first three years of parenting. So you can imagine how exciting those beginnings as new parents were for me and my wife, Judy. As much as we wanted to cherish those first smiles, crawls, walks and priceless moments, we also knew it was precious time to build healthy habits for these little ones that would affect the rest of their lives. That’s why I value the advice my mom gave me when I told her I was going to be a father: concentrate on their eating and sleeping… that’s it! As simple as it was, it was totally true. Teaching habits really comes from routines that we set as parents, especially when our children are infants. Surprise! Sleeping was the focus routine for us.
I think we actually did pretty well when it came to their sleep routine. For me, it was being a drill sergeant about their sleep schedule. I’m proud to say that within 3-6 months for each one of our girls, they were not only sleeping in their own crib, but sleeping in their own room and following a reliable schedule peacefully. We were so proud! Then life happens…
You start having more to do. Places to go. Kids start walking. Twins started chatting with each other. The routine you thought you had down starts slipping. We recently came to a peak in our craziness when all of us were jet lagged from a return trip from Japan back to our home here in Seattle. The girls were super off of their normal schedule and we were at our wits end with exhaustion.
Luckily we had a package delivered for us shortly after we returned. It was a package introducing us to the JOHNSON’S® Tonight We Sleep™ Challenge. As JOHNSON’S® Council members, Judy and I were excited to take the challenge, which invited us to use their 3-step bedtime routine for 7 days to help our girls sleep better. It’s simple really. Step 1: Warm Bath. Step 2: Lotion Massage. Step 3: Quiet time before bed.
We’ve been doing most of the steps during the course of our parenting, but this challenge was a great way for us to refocus our efforts on better sleep habits. We especially liked the “Quiet Time” step. Before we would let the girls watch a nighttime lullaby on YouTube, however, following the guidelines of the challenge, we switched to reading a book, which worked much better. Following this routine was simple yet super effective. Within 3-4 days (about a week after returning from our trip) the girls were already starting to get back into the groove. In addition, Judy and I were also regaining our sanity with the additional hours of sleep we would get because of the girls peaceful nights.
To sum it up, healthy habits start right away. In my opinion, sleep routines are the top priority to help a child start having healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their life!
I am a contributor for JOHNSON’S®, the sponsor of this community, and compensated for travel and attendance at events. Every idea and word written is my own.