During the first three years of life, the sense of order is particularly strong. When my son was born, my mother insisted that I put him in his pajamas every night. “He sleeps all day in his regular clothes; he’ll never know the difference,” I insisted. She prevailed and told me that starting the routine of changing into pajamas and getting ready for bed would go far in establishing a bedtime ritual. When my son went to bed easier and started sleeping through the night earlier than his peers, I was thankful for our routines.
Bath time was another important routine. Every morning after breakfast and right before his morning nap, my son had a bath. He learned to love and look forward to the ritual of bath time. It was a special time for us both when I talked to him, named body parts, sang songs, and gave kisses. Bath time was never a struggle because it was part of our expected daily routine. He anticipated it and knew that with a full tummy and clean clothes, it was then time for nap.