Author Topic: What does a good wind down consist of (Includes 4S ritual)  (Read 20554 times)

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What does a good wind down consist of (Includes 4S ritual)
« on: June 23, 2011, 20:34:59 pm »
A wind down is a series of predictable events to a baby.  Each of us has our own wind down.  The length of the wind down can vary with the baby and their needs. Some prefer longer, some very short.  A general example could be: enter nursery, change diaper, swaddle, close curtains, sit in chair and sing a song, (some swaddle here) and place in crib.  If you are still using shush pat, you would start this after swaddling.  The most important factor is predictability. Your baby needs to understand a series of steps means sleep is coming.


Especially for younger babies, Tracy developed a plan for winding-down, termed the "Four S" ritual. It's an example of a really good wind-down and, done for every nap (and bedtime) can help baby learn s/he is going to sleep. This makes it a much more relaxed affair!

Four S ritual:

- Setting the stage - go into baby's room, away from toys and the rest of the house, and do the same thing every time, be it changing a nappy, saying 'bye bye' to the sun, closing the blinds, putting on music/white noise.

- Swaddling - I can't recommend this highly enough for younger babies. It helps them control their limbs whilst asleep, and so makes them much less likely to wake themselves up. Also it makes them feel more secure. Tracy recommended it for definite up to 3 to 4 months, but also said that some babies benefit up to 8 to 9 months. It is, however, not recommended for those babies who are tummy sleepers, or when they start to roll, but cannot yet lift their heads up when on their tummies.

- Sitting - simply sit with your baby for a few minutes, preferably in the dark, with as little visual stimulation as possible. No rocking/jiggling/etc. Just sit and be calm, and let baby relax.

- Shush-pat method - Because younger babies can't concentrate on more than two things at a time, Tracy developed this method. It can be done on your shoulder (just make sure baby doesn't fall completely asleep before you put him down) or in the cot. It's quite simple - whilst rhythmically patting him on the back, you also whisper "sssh, sssh, sssh" in his ear. This helps him to stop concentrating on crying, and calms him down. This method is a great alternative to rocking or holding to sleep, and will eventually teach the baby the skills of sleeping independently.

For any further clarification on these methods, please see the Naps forum.
Cadan Dec 2009 and Colby Aug 2011