Anybody who has spent time around babies, from parents to siblings, will know the pain of a difficult bedtime. For all the joy that a child brings into your life, there are challenges as well. Lullabies are a time-honored method of lulling a baby to sleep, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do it. You don’t have to have the voice of an angel to become a lullaby pro – simply follow our tips to help you get bedtimes right.
When it comes to rocking your baby to sleep, most parents will try anything. Lullabies are a tried and tested method for coaxing your kid into slumber, but why do they work? Interestingly, it’s to do with recreating the in-utero surroundings that your baby experienced for the first nine months of his or her little life. The womb is not, in fact, a quiet environment and is flooded by the daily noise of life. This is the environment that a baby has become used to and recreating it as part of a bedtime routine helps a baby feel safe and happy and drift off into a deep sleep. In fact, the lullabies can start before your baby is even born. Research has shown that babies who are sung to whilst in the womb have a tendency to cry less than those who aren’t.
Establish A Routine
To truly optimize your little one’s bedtime, it’s important to establish a strong routine that creates cues for the baby’s brain that sleep is coming. A lullaby can be an integral part of this routine. If you sing your baby to sleep as the last act of the day, beginning when he or she is already starting to doze off, you’ll build familiar triggers that link the calming lilt of a lullaby with drifting off to sleep. These triggers will become more potent over time until eventually, the first few bars will instantly cause your baby’s eyelids to begin to droop.
A Calming Experience
When you’re trying to encourage your baby to drift off to sleep you need to create a calming environment for the process to go smoothly. Make sure the baby’s bedroom is free from distractions so pets and other people need to be kept away as the bedtime process begins. Laura Barr, motherhood blogger at Writinity.com and Researchpapersuk.com points out that “light level is just as important for your baby getting to sleep as it would be for you, but babies don’t do well in the pitch dark either. Adjust the light level to find a soft dusky texture, and your baby will relax and be ready for you to start singing.”
A Repeating Melody
For your lullaby to work wonders it needs to calm your baby and encourage him or her to drift off to a peaceful sleep. A repeating melody, even a very repetitive one, will be much more effective than a melody that regular changes. Babies are taking in information from the world all the time and a changing memory may capture their attention, keeping them awake. A short motif that repeats over and over will send them to sleep, and you might even feel yourself getting drowsy too!
Make It Up!
If you don’t know any lullabies, you don’t need to worry. Bryan Workman, parenting coach at Draftbeyond.com and Lastminutewriting.com says that “as well as tried and tested lullabies, almost anything with a repeating pattern will work to lull your baby to sleep. Feel free to get creative and make up your own simple songs.” Writing your own lullabies can have additional positive effects – singing about your own experiences can be a cathartic way of processing the day’s events, which are often hectic and challenging in the wake of a new-born. It also helps you bond with your child, as it forms the basis of a method of communicating.
Singing lullabies to your baby can be incredibly rewarding. In those moments you’re creating lasting memories and a lifelong bond with your child. Building a calming bedtime routine can lead to a better night’s sleep for your little one and ultimately for you as well. Parenting is all about learning new skills – mastering the lullaby is essential.
Ashley Halsey is a professional writer at Luckyassignments.com and Gumessays.com. As a mother of triplets, she knows a thing or three about babies and is enthusiastic to share her experiences with the world.