Nighttime routines can be instrumental in getting your little one off to sleep. It can also sometimes be the hardest time of the day to get your little ones to cooprate.
Do you have a nighttime routine that works in your house?
Sarah: I allocate an hour for our goodnight routine. It starts with picking up whatever toys need to be put away, on to her bath (if she’s getting one that evening) and finally we read 2 books that she gets to pick out and sing 3 songs. We always sing the “Goodnight Song.” She does fine with me but when it’s her dad’s turn to put her down, she fights it. If he plays with her in her room after pajamas and before reading, she does better but she always calls out for me. I’ll admit, part of me likes that she only wants me to put her down.
Leila: We don’t have much of a routine, even though we should. Night time is usually our family down time and we watch the kids’ shows with them. A half hour before bed (so at the start of a new show) we let them know that when this show is over, it is bed time. This at least helps them prepare for bedtime. When the show is over (fortunately kid shows typically end a few minutes early) they put on their jammies, do potty breaks, good night kisses all around and off to bed. It works for us anyway!
Mariah: I love hearing about everyone’s routine. I know our night time situation is not ideal at all. We should have more of a routine and I know I should work on that as my little man gets older. If he doesn’t go to sleep early then he stays up with me and my husband and plays or lays on his bean bag. When I get ready to go upstairs, my husband brings him up while I brush my teeth. Then I lay down with W and he usually falls asleep within about 10 minutes while I read.
Sarah: I should also add that my daughter’s bed time is different every night. I know we should be consistent but on the nights she doesn’t have school the next day, we let her stay up later. She’s definitely a night owl. On NYE, she made it to midnight while I was ready to go to bed!
Lena: Here is my problem: my 4 year old takes online pre-school class in the evening and after that she goes to bed and stays up for an hour reading book. My two year old doesn’t know how to fall asleep – he keep jumping out of a crib until he somehow manages to fall asleep.
Sarah: Does your 2 year old nap in the afternoon? If so, for how long? My 2.5 year old will take 3 hour naps if I let her. I try to only let her sleep 2 hours so she’ll go to bed a little easier. My friend lets her son jump on his trampoline (small, indoor one) as part of his bedtime ritual. I thought it would just get him wound up but it tires him out.
Emily: Bedtime at our house is 7:45. As far as a routine, we have a routine for everything! It’s been my experience that my son reacts better when he knows what to expect. We read two books, brush our teeth, use the potty, and then it’s hugs and kisses all around. My son stays awake “reading” for probably 25 – 30 minutes, which – according to my parents – is what I did as a child, too.
Kathleen: Ours is pretty standard. Around 7:00 we start it with the aim for bedtime at 7:30. PJS, Brush Teeth, One daughter Takes pill, say goodnight to Daddy, Hear Story, get tucked in. Works for us.
Lena: Sarah, If I would let me 2 yo jump on trampoline, he’d be climbing the walls!! Both 2 and 4 still get a nap, the 2 yo actually sleeps less than 4 yo. He sleeps like 2 hours. I tried to do yoga before bed with them yesterday – 2 yo messed everything up and they both ended up laughing a lot. He just cannot come himself down.
Emily: Lena, have you thought about creating a chart of your bedtime routine for the 2-year old? It might help him to relax, as he’ll know what to expect. I’m working on one right now (for a different topic) at the suggestion of an Early Childhood Educator friend of mine. Children crave routine, and knowing what is next and what’s expected of them helps them feel like they have control.
Cyndy: We don’t really have a routine which I know is not the ideal way to handle bedtime, but it has worked for us. There is some bit of a routine in terms of a book, or a bath (depending on the night), or a drink, brushing teeth – but the times/order change constantly. Sometimes this works really well for us and sometimes it does not, but overall we’ve not had huge issues in this area.
Ghada: We do the same sort of wind down routines every night, not always in the same order. I let Mr 4 take the lead as long as he is actually winding down. What worked really well with him as a baby and is working for his 4 month old sister is a sleep bag. As soon as I dim the lights and zip her into it, she starts to yawn and knows it is time for sleep. So it doesn’t matter if she didn’t have a bath that night, she still picks up on the sleep bag cue. Besides that, baths, reading a book and singing a song are regular night time routines.
Thank You for your valuable input, Ghada of Mama Goes BAM, Mariah of Formula Mom, Lena of Way2Goodlife, Emily of Nap Time is My Time, Cyndy of Mama Does It All, Kathleen of Callista’s Ramblings, Sarah of East 9th Street, and Leila of The Go To Mommy.