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  • Realizing a routine
    Here are some tips on how to put your baby on a schedule.

    1. Listen to your baby.
    Rhea Dumdum-Bautista, principal of the CCP Dance School, and mom to David, 5 months, says she didn’t force a routine on her son. She allowed his natural rhythms and internal routine to emerge and worked around it. Her advice? “Let babies take the lead. Don’t be too rigid with their routine. They develop so fast and change so quickly - you just have to adapt.”

    2. Do the same thing every day.
    You can’t dictate when your baby is hungry or sleepy, but if you follow a consistent routine when it comes to what you can control, baby will eventually fall into the pattern. Dr. Chen says, “By bathing the baby at a particular time each day, feeding at regular intervals, going through the routines of housework where there is more activity during the day and less at night, the baby assimilates this pattern and learns that day is different from night and sleep adjusts accordingly. Of course each child has a different personality, but in time, their body clock adjusts and a day-and-night rhythm is struck.”  

    3. Write it down.
    Joan suggests keeping a record of your baby’s routine. “It helps you see the trends and figure out the best possible schedule,” she says. “When your baby has caught on to a routine, you could divert from it once in a while, but not till he’s used to his routine.”    

    4. Clue them in.
    Schedules work if you can get baby to cooperate. The best way to do this is to give him clues or signals that it’s time for a certain activity. Rea shares how she differentiates nap time and bedtime. “For nap time, don’t draw the curtains. But at night, make it dark. He will figure out that a bright environment equals shorter sleep and a darker environment means longer sleep. It’s about creating the environment and being aware of the room, sounds etc.”

    5. Make it fun!
    Baby’s routine need not be a chore. Dr. Cruz suggests, “Try to show excitement over the everyday routine. Make it as interesting as possible. While giving a bath, you can sing to your baby, let him explore soft toys, and give him time to play with the water. While reading books, turn off anything distracting and read with feelings and a loud and clear voice. Try to explain every situation so baby will understand the cause and effect of all the actions you are doing to him.”

    6. Trust your instincts.
    Implementing a schedule may be hard in the beginning. What can make things worse is if you get conflicting advice from others. Rea says not to worry. “Be patient, your instincts will kick in. These are far more important than what others say, because those might be what’s best for their babies but not necessarily yours. But do listen as you can still pick up good pointers from them.”

    7. Don’t give up!
    If you’re beginning to feel discouraged, Dr. Chen says, “Just keep trying. Do the same thing each day at the same time. If baby will not follow, don’t force but still offer the same routine. In time, he will assimilate this rhythm and follow.”
    Even if they will make life easier, routines are not meant to be set in stone. Dr. Chen says, “Feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, uncertainty, nervousness are not helpful.” She adds, “Remember, you are your child’s guide in life. Have more confidence in yourself as a parent. We all have it in us to be good parents.”

    Photo by Eduardo Merille from flickr creative commons

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