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Tips for Creating a Baby Schedule

Jun 17, 2014
Parents who decide to put their baby on a schedule often do so to create consistency and security. Schedules that are established with cues prepare children for what is coming next. For instance, reading a book may signal naptime or putting on a bib might indicate it’s time to eat. A study conducted by Dr. Mindell at Saint Joseph’s University found significant reductions in sleep problems, including waking in the night, for infants and toddlers whose parents established a bedtime routine.
Parent educator Allison LaTona explains that there are many benefits of routines and schedules for babies. The schedule you choose might include:
  • Following your baby’s lead
  • Setting the schedule yourself
  • Creating a schedule to accommodate both 
How to Prepare Your Baby for a Schedule
Many experts suggest following a newborn’s cues for eating and sleeping, so you’re likely going to look at scheduling around four months of age. Sleep expert Kim West lays out a basic schedule for children ages six to eight months, while the following tips will help you transition to a more schedule-based routine. 
  1. Create Routines Led by Cues: In order to set your child up for being successful on a schedule, you’ll need to establish routines that are led by cues. Cues for sleep might include feeding and a story. Cues for eating might include putting on a bib and seating baby in a particular spot – your lap with a blanket or the high chair.
  2. Create Consistency: Be consistent if you want your schedule to work. Baby won’t understand if you follow the schedule three days a week for naps and then expect her to sleep without cues in a different place the rest of the time.  While this may limit your own schedule – you can’t run to the grocery shop half an hour before nap time, or you might need to eat your own lunch earlier than normal – it will help your child fall into a schedule more easily. 
  3. Listen to You Baby: While being consistent is important, it’s also critical that you listen to your baby’s needs. For instance, when children go through growth spurts they will likely eat more than normal. And if you run your child at the park for a long time one morning, he might be ready for nap a little earlier than normal. Your child will display his or her own cues when hungry and tired, so learn to follow these as well.  

If you get too overwhelmed by scheduling, take a step back. Scheduling does not work for every family, and if you feel frustrated it probably won’t work for you. In order for schedules to be effective they must have a positive impact on the entire family, creating a sense of security and peace in the home. 


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I have been wondering how to create a good baby schedule and what to include so I am glad I saw this!

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