bedtime routine for babies and toddler

How to start the bedtime routine? Is it necessary for a peaceful family life or can we improvise?

Here is Elena’s experience with her three children

Once a baby is born, everyone will start asking how they’re sleeping and giving their input and advice. Who in the parent bed until the age of majority, who in his own bedroom all night spun immediately.

The sleep / wake rhythm of a small child is very different from us adults and as parents we are faced with the dilemma of which approach to follow.

How to get a baby to fall asleep at the same time every night?

What was clear was that I would need to set up a bedtime routine. But what is this bedtime routine and why is a bedtime routine important for a child?

At the beginning we found ourselves with lot of difficulties. Children can be unpredictable, everything changed from day to day and we struggled to find “our” rhythm.

After all, I was never an organized person, and the idea of ​​having rigid schedules gave me a certain feeling of oppression.

Perhaps also for this reason, as soon as it was possible, I chose a low cot for my children.

Knowing that, despite being very small, they still had the opportunity to self-manage as much as possible, reassured me. This meant that wherever we are (with or without our favourite cot), the children would feel comfortable and at home with the simplicity of a mattress instead of a camping crib.

Tips to establish a bedtime routine

For us, we found our routine in the little things. It was not a linear process nor was everything perfect, but gradually the routine was built from the little things. With a song sung every night, little words whispered in their ear and the warm feeling from an old stuffed animal to hug. In fact, setting up a bedtime routine helped us to establish how to satisfy everyone’s needs.

Maria Grazia Honegger Fresco, last disciple of Maria Montessori, who recently passed away, teaches us why having a bedtime routine is important and highlights the need to keep our evening rituals and routines the same.

We learned this from the book ‘Facciamo la nanna!’ which helped us a lot!..sorry I can’t find a translation in english.

Children need safety, a comfortable place where they can go in the evening. A place for the soul more than anything else, where you can find order and peace at the end of each day. Whether used fun or relaxing, for a small child it will always be a source of learning. A type of learning that can sometimes seem silent but will always be tumultuous inside.* please do not confuse it with “Go to sleep!” by Eduard Estivill, widely disputed and unsupported scientifically. 

Finding the serenity to fall asleep

Some have found their routine in the bath, massage, bed sequence, reading the same book before bed, for others still have a favorite song or story repeated equally every night.

Certainly the environment is crucial, with a soft light, the hand of a guardian, a prepared and dedicated space helps a lot to let yourself go to sleep.Organizing the bedroom is important, so that there is space for everything and is designed for children.

Our family experience was to associate a song for each of my children and a lullaby that my grandmother sang to me which concludes our routines and allows for a moment with all three.

Even now that they have grown up a little, they find comfort in it and continue to sing it in the moments when they are most restless. Have you found your bedtime routine?

What is your lullaby or favorite book for your own bedtime routine? you can read our tip on the blog!

Montessori child's bedroom

How to furnish a child’s bedroom from birth following the style and principles of Maria Montessor. A discovery of three steps to ensuring their space is always functional.

 

What comes to mind when we think of the bedroom?

A question that as an architect and mother I have asked myself many times. But in my experience, when we think about our children’s room we don’t always think about the same thing. Our children are constantly evolving, therefore we need to adapt to their needs, and consequently, our search for the perfect room changes.

 

Through developing Nini, I have learned to divide the requirements of a child’s bedroom into three stages. The three stages of growth that help us to furnish the bedroom according to child development.

 

The baby’s room: is it necessary? 

The first phase represents from birth and early childhood, the second is learning through play and creativity, and finally the time of study and growth.

 

From birth to around 10 months, the baby bonds with their caregiver and a dedicated space is not always necessary, but in the second and third stages (from a year up) it is very important for children and young people to have a specific space, a place just for them, a refuge, a den.

 

The right moment to set the kidsroom.

Starting from the first year, the needs of the child change, and it becomes necessary to create his own reference space, where they can find games, books and everything else.

 

How do I set up my toddler’s bedroom? 

I consider the second stage can be identified as the phase of play and creativity, the discovery of oneself and the world, the desire for autonomy. Furnishing the bedroom in Montessori style works by following their needs and acknowledging the stages of growth. So the principles of Montessori will work by adapting to your child.

 

Starting from Montessori pedagogy and from the principles of psychomotor skills, we can try to stimulate their desire for independence by organizing functional areas designed for children.

 

What are the needs of a child in their bedroom?

The “nanna”. Why montessori floor bed?

When the child begins to move independently, crawling or walking, in the cot they will be able to get on and off by themselves, if positioned at the right height and do not prevent the ascent with bars. In fact, the classic bed with bars may seem safer, but in some cases it can stimulate the desire to “escape” by climbing over the bars, therefore increasing the risk of falling.

 

Why a Montessori floor bed? It will encourage child independence as they can get in and out safely. The low bed is sometimes also preferred by mum and dad, who can sit comfortably to read a bedtime story, without bending down. Our Ninnanì has exactly these characteristics, read the story of Elena and her twins!

montessori style toddler bed

The dressing room.

Next to the bed we can then organize a dressing corner with hangers and a chest, to practice dressing yourself, putting away the bedtime books and pyjamas.

mettere le scarpe da solo

Play and creativity.

The bedroom is also play, creativity and “work” from an early age as Maria Montessori said… therefore the Montessori method can help in child development and can educate the human potential.  So it is important when you want to furnish your bedroom in Montessori style to have a space with a table and chair in order to be able to draw, play, assemble and experiment.

An incredible way that we have experimented and which draws directly from the pedagogy of Reggio Emilia schools, is the light table! Together with our children, we can experiment with light, colors, transparencies … using any type of material: leaves, fruit, sand, colors of various textures … and anything that comes to mind.

Montessori child's bedroom

Reanding and relaxing.

But even the relaxation and reading space will be more stimulating with a front bookcase, where the child can choose a book themselves, and snuggle up on a soft carpet to look through it independently or on their mother’s legs.

Does a Montessori child’s bedroom really help parents?

A tidy kids room: lets declutter!

We can be surprised to discover, also thanks to Maria Montessori, that order is a primary need for children. Montessori is a way of life and the external order reflects an internal order which is necessary for children to understand and accumulate all the new knowledge acquired every day. Organizing the space with few objects and furniture will make management easier, focusing on the rotation of games and books and observing the child and understanding the needs of their development stage.

Litterally look up!

Where to store the rest of stuff? If we all have child-sized furniture on the ground, we can use furniture “overhead” for parents: wall units and shelves for everything that doesn’t have to be within reach of our little ones!

A safe kids room.

In addition, a Montessori child’s bedroom will be deemed safe by selecting safe and certified materials, and for example, not risking the negative foresight in plugging electrical sockets and using too soft upholstery in case of suffocation in the first years of age.

If everything is close to hand, there will be no possibility of falls from above and overturning, providing comfort to the whole family and allowing them to spend time together, having fun.

A kids' book to read together: Oh Oh!

Here is a children’s book to read together: Oh-oh! by Chris Haughton, winner of the Andersen Prize 2013 for books 0-6 years.

How do my own kids see me?

Have you ever wondered how your son or daughter would describe you?

I’m sure they think we’re old, because our age is more than they can count or imagine. We could also be considered tall (from their point of view), or fat, or beautiful (of course the mother is always beautiful).

But if they get lost and a stranger asks them about you?

A kids’ book gives us an answer

Oh-Oh! Oh-oh! It is a book for children, from 18 months, that speaks of a small owl that gets lost in the woods falling from the nest: a squirrel helps him to find his mother, among several misunderstandings. The baby owl describes its mother as a giant like a bear, with pointy ears as a rabbit, with big eyes like a frog!

When the baby owl finally finds its mom, they invite new friends in the nest celebrating with cookies.

It’s a very simple story, but it can be very funny playing on misunderstandings. Being quite repetitive, it can also be a good bedtime fairy story.

Illustrations for the little ones

Another interesting element of this book are illustrations: very simple and defined, as well as expressive and colorful. The very good illustrator plays with shapes and uncommon colors, for a dreamlike and mysterious effect.

To this link you can find some activities proposed by the author of the book for free download…activities perfect for our Tavoluccico, the Nini’s light table, that you find for sale online here or or on Amazon too.

If my kids get lost?

It is one of the worst fears of any parent. I found helpful tips in this article here.

reading tips for kids

The books we recommend can be a source of inspiration for experimenting and playing with colors, mixing them, overlapping them … even on our Tavoluccico, our lighting table!

The first book is a classical of children’s literature “Little Blue and Little Yellow” by Leo Lionni. It recounts the strong friendship between two little dots, a blue and a yellow one and when they hug together they become green and their parents cannot recognize them. It may appear at first as very cheerful and slightly superficial but then suddenly it turns into being very deep and demanding.
I confess that the first time I read the story I was speechless, how could the parents not recognize their very own children? a story worth a Greek tragedy! The good news is that children are not impressed the same way as a mother and it’s a great starting point to learn more about primary colours, secondary ones, overlaying and mixtures. All on a bright table!

I have recently discovered the second book by Javier Sáez Castán “The Mister Green Snack”. One day Mr Green invites to his house Mr Yellow, Mr Blue and Mr Purple (etc.) and with them a mysterious door opens on to a multi-coloured world in which after an initial dismay, the participants will have a feast of marmalades of all colours (and flavours). The characters are inspired poetically to Magritte.

The Human Body. Skeleton, muscles and organs: a kaleidoscope of colours. This book that suits probably older readers, is definitely more complex but very interesting at the same time. Drawings of the human body, extremely tangled and invisible to the naked eye, are revealed when observed with coloured lens.

attività montessori

When you have a child, the idea of being able to play again could be exciting … For some people toy car racetracks come to mind, for others Barbie and for others still Lego. Some people think “I can finally buy the Betty Crocker Easy Bake Oven  and understand how it works!” However, when the time comes, we realise that this is also an educational choice. Since we love to play, we can also play with our furniture. We talked to Natalia De Armas, an educator specialised in psychomotor skills.

Natalia, Maria Montessori said that ‘playing is a child’s job’: what does this mean for you?

Playing is the basis of knowledge, because it is the main tool with which children express themselves. From it they begin to understand themselves, others and the world around them. Playing teaches them to learn, to orient themselves in space and time, to manipulate and build, to establish relationships and communicate. But that’s not all. Playing allows them to comprehend and to understand their body in relation to others and the space. It is therefore a privileged and indispensable element for the integral development of the child because it covers all the basic skills: motor, cognitive, emotional and social.

Spending some time during the day playing with an adult, be it parent or another figure like a teacher, a grandparent or another relative, is very important. We know that the fast pace of society has forced us to reduce the time dedicated to shared play, free from distractions like mobile phones, televisions or work, but the adult remains a crucial element. Adults, in fact, have the task of ensuring that the space and the materials used for play are safe, but also that they are educational. On the other hand, children must also learn to play alone, to develop tools and systems to not get bored, without the constant presence of someone to help them.

A feature of our design is the attention to stimuli. But to do so we chose simple materials and forms, not just because they are more sustainable, but also because it seemed to be the most appropriate choice for this purpose. It almost seems to be a contradiction. Perhaps more technological materials could create more stimuli?

The world is in continuous technological evolution, but technology is not strictly necessary for the children, until at least 6 years of age.

Non-figurative games, that give them the space necessary to let their predispositions shine through and to awaken their imagination and creativity, are more appropriate tools. So, simplicity is more than welcome! Besides, we may also remember that when we were children a box could become a car, a plane, a hiding place. A chair or table could become a cave, a house or a train. A book without text, containing only images, could tell a different story for every person that read it.

Very often we believe they need more games, but children can play for hours on end with everyday things. Some seeds, a bit of earth, a pot, a table, a cloth, a rope or the child’s bed itself, are all that’s needed to unleash their creativity and imagination, encouraging their development as a whole.

The use of games and devices where the children are simply spectators if anything produce the opposite effect, as do games that seek to stimulate children to early on. Vibrating bouncers, games with shrill sounds and coloured lights are objects that make the child passive and create addiction. This will make them become  bored more quickly without a sound or visual stimulus within reach, and we will have more overweight children with behavioural difficulties, attention deficit disorders and other problems.

Sometimes the constant movement of the child makes parents panic, and they resort to tricks to keep them quiet. That is not always really necessary. Sometimes following their imaginary journeys and becoming swept up in them can also be exciting for adults.

 

* Natalia has developed her profession in the socio-educational field with children from 0 to 3 years and their families, offering workshops on bonding, play and psychomotor development in contexts of social vulnerability.

He has also worked in the clinical area with children from 2 to 16 years of age with academic, motor, relational and behavioral difficulties and various pathologies such as Down syndrome, corpus callosum agenesis, autism spectrum disorder, etc.

reading with kids

Reading with kids.

Hug them and rediscover that moment of intimacy, when they let themselves be lulled by your voice and together with you go to the discovery of a new dimension, which helps calm and concentration.
This precious moments can also become a strategy during the “family crisis”, when the decibels exceed the threshold of tolerance and you appear to have lost control of the situation.

Every child knows his favorite book by heart: re-reading the same story calm him and improves his comprehension of concepts.

When children can recognize quickly their own favourite book from the cover, it increases their autonomy.

For this reason Leggola, the book rack, is one of the first Nini’s product.

Taking advantage of its shape we decided to make it a real three-dimensional product, using also the back.

Books in the front develop imagination, while in the back can continue the symbolic game: a dollhouse to play and to create new stories!

memory montessori

Rhymes and chants help memory and concentration, and help to learn new words, even in foreign languages.

Here are our community’s nursery rhymes!

 

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the brook,
If you catch a little fish
Please let it off the hook

——————-

Round and round the garden
Chasing teddy bears.
One step, two step,
Three step, tickley everwhere!
Round and round the mulberry bush,
Like a little hare,
One Step, two step,
Tickly under there!

——————-

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

—————-

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When this blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, through the night.

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He could not see where to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

———–

Ainsi font, font, font,
Les petites marionnettes,
Ainsi font, font, font,
Trois p’tits tours et puis s’en vont.

Les mains aux côtés,
Sautez, sautez, marionnettes,
Les mains aux côtés,
Marionnettes, recommencez.

Mais elles reviendront,
Les petites marionnettes,
Mais elles reviendront,
Quand les enfants dormiront.

——————-

Tombolo Dondolo sul muro sedeva,
Tombolo Dondolo dal muro cadeva;
e non bastarono a metterlo in pié
tutti gli uomini e i cavalli del Rè.

——————–

Dondola dondola il cavallino
porta in sella l’allegro bambino
insieme cavalcano verso il tramonto
e si preparan per il giro del mondo,
insieme cavalcano incontro alla sera
attraversano i monti e la selva più nera.
In mezzo al deserto o nel mare aperto fra cow – boys ed indiani
nei villaggi africani
o fra le rovine degli antichi egiziani,
in mezzo alle umide risaie cinesi
visitano insieme civiltà e paesi.
Sfidano mostri, stregoni e draghi
grazie a pozioni di potenti maghi
ed ogni avventura è una grande occasione
per far correre libera l’immaginazione.

—————————-

il cavallo del vecchietto va zoppetto, va zoppetto
il cavallo del giovanotto va a trotto, va a trotto
il cavallo del mio compare come il vento sa … volare!!

———————-

C’era una volta il tonnetto Totonno
che ogni mattina cascava dal sonno,
mentre la sera per farlo dormire
la mamma tonna doveva impazzire.
Il babbo tonno con voce profonda
cantava ninna sul ritmo dell’onda,
ma un occhio solo chiudeva Totonno
mentre suo padre moriva di sonno.

————————-

Su su su cavalo
La mama è andata al balo
Con le tetine piene
Per darle a le putele
Le putele no le vol
Pichete pachete sul culon!

———————

Trotta trotta cavallino
per la strada del mulino
il mulino non c’è più
trotta trotta cadi giù!

 

montessori light table
Explore the nature, collect leaves, analysing transparencies, build with small sticks and play with marbles, experiment with forms and colors.
These are the most preferred kid’s activities, but they can also be an important way to learn. The Reggio Emilia Approach makes excellent use of the learning opportunities that light, shadow and reflections can offer.
The lighting table helps in raising the interest on any setting, creating a place for observation and exploration of shape, form, opacity and color mixing. Their calming influence invites sensory exploration and provides motivation, engaging attention for sustained periods of time.
Playing with light provides the perfect opportunity for magical experiences to be enjoyed by children. Light and darkness hold fascination and intrigue, as well as an element of risk and challenge and of being scared. (questo non c’è nella versione italiana non so se vogliamo metterlo, è carino ma allunga, cercherei post più corti)
Tavoluccico is a lighting table: it allows many activities and explorations of light, colour and materials. By removing the plexiglass top it be comes a container for playing with mall objects, like sand, small stones, coloured fiches, beads… For inventing and reinventing.
Healthy food and conviviality Children at the table.

Books can teach to our kids how to recognize healthy food and appreciate conviviality. Here Nini’s reading tip.

Like many well respected Italian families, one of our favourite topics of conversation is food. Similarly, many of the books we have read, reread and over read over the years with young children are stories about food and education.

Recognize healty food

A very topical issue when it comes to children is, unfortunately, childhood obesity, which is fought mainly with proper nutrition education.

As the nutritionist Federica Pasitisays, to eat fruits and vegetable, you especially must know them. Federica works with us in our workshops for children in Rome, in particular she manage the snack during the workshops. Would you ever eat something you don’t know, whose texture and taste are not familiar to you?

For this reason Federica uses with her little patientsMontessori Nomenclature Cards about healthy Foods. This method can also help to avoid the tantrums during the meal.

Nini likes rhymes stories, like “Al supermercato degli animali”. This rhyme story, that in 2008 won the Anderson Medal for 0 to 6 years old, is suitable also for very young children. The story illustrates the importance of eating well and describes the different diets between one animal and the other. Significant is the section that describes how the “frozen food department closed because it was not popular and that in it’s place now there is a field”.

The pleasure of conviviality

Often people complain about children in restaurants that can’t be quiet, and families use tablets and cell phones to keep them quiet and make them eat without whims or rejection.

Kids become boried fast and they can’t spend too much time seated. However, learning to enjoy lunch or dinner out also means spending time with family and people we love. For this reason one of our best book is “The Stone Soup” by Anais Vaugelade.

Healthy food and conviviality - a book

A book recommended by Nini about conviviality.

The title itself describes something that is far from the ordinary schemes: a toothless wolf asks to be hosted by a hen on a cold winter evening and would like to cook a stone soup. This will become the excuse for an entertaining dinner between neighbours in which each animal adds an ingredient to the soup. The metaphor is strong and appropriate: each animal adds a new ingredient to the soup in the same way as every personality provides something interesting and unique to a group of friends.

So all the animals rediscover the pleasure of conviviality and staying together, telling stories and spending a pleasant evening in front of the fireplace. Just as we could do with our children both at home, and at the restaurant, occupying the waiting time between one course and the other.

Children at the table. Practical life at home

In addition to the topics healthy food and conviviality, the Nini readings concern participation in the preparation of the meal! A time to learns the sharing of tasks and responsibility. The fourth text that we suggest a shaped hardback in rhymes about Nadja’s “five little fingers”.

The story illustrates the preparation of lunch and the involvement of each finger in a separate task. This becomes the perfect excuse to learn the names of the fingers and to experience working together towards a common result.

This book also helps us at home with the activities of “practical life”, which are a fundamental mainstay of the Montessori approach. Join the houseworks, each with their own possibilities, helps to develop autonomy, and to feel useful and grown up!

Set the table teaches children a lot of things: to count the right number of cutlery and dishes,to place objects in order, first the tablecloth, then the dish, finally the napkin…, to be carefulwith fragile objects and to not to forget anything.

Have you seen the Nini’s table set? Our Table Tavoluccico with Dindola chairs is perfect to be set with linoleum washableplacemat developed with Officine Adda. Available, as all other Nini’s product, for shipping in whole Europe. You can buy them writing an e-mail to info@ninidesign.it.