Finding the right Bedtime Routine: Kipper is now twenty months old and I feel that we have finally managed to get a good routine in place for bedtime. In other words he doesn’t spend any of his sleeping hours in our double bed, although he still tends to come in for a cuddle in the morning. If you are regular readers of Mudpie Fridays you will known that its taken us a while. I will never really understand why it has taken a lot longer than it did with Monkey. I can only surmise it is down to the individual character of the child as we did everything the same.

So what does our routine look like? Well I think Kippers bedtime has definitely been impacted by having an older sibling. The moment we stopped trying to do bedtime at the same time it really helped. It also helped Monkey who has started to insist that you sit with him until he fell asleep. Our old routine would mean Hubby and I wouldn’t sit down to eat until around 9pm each evening. Something had to change. We have tried a few variations but our new routine has been working for the last six weeks. I take Kipper up at half an hour before Monkey, we get ready for bed and have a short story. Then its time for me to pop him in his sleeping bag, turn off the main light and put our lumie light on, before giving him his bottle. We still use a slow flow teet on his one and only bottle of the day. I give him a kiss, make sure he can find his dummy, tell him I love him and leave the room. He now settles himself and very rarely stirs. We don’t bath the boys every night to protect their skin since Monkey use to have bad eczema. When we do they tend to have baths together. The only difference in our routine is the Monkey will pop downstairs for half an hour after his bath while Kipper settles down for the night.

Bedtime routines that work for one child may not work for another. Just like other parenting decisions bedtime is a personal one. With that in mind I have asked some other parents to share theirs:

  • Katie – “We have a physical activity just before dinner like dancing or indoor assault course. Have dinner together which is followed by ten minutes on the tablet to let dinner go down before having a bath/shower (she chooses which). She has a massage after with baby oil and into jammies. We then usually play something quiet like block building or trains. She can then have a slice of toast or some fruit for supper if she’d like some. Then it is a big cuddle in bed with a book before laying down for bed once she has said goodnight to her grandparents.”

 

  • Maria – “We go upstairs at 6:15 and go straight into Lily’s bedtime routine of milk then toilet, wash, teeth, PJ’s, book, set sleep training dog, turn on nightlight then a kids goodnight and Lily generally sleeps through until anytime between 5:30 and 6. We do this everyday except Tuesday and Thursday which are bath nights so we go up earlier.”

 

 

  • Naomi – “Ours is really basic. We don’t bath every night as mine have sensitive skin. I have a 2 year old and 6 year old. At 6.45pm we change the littlest’s nappy and they both get pjs on. Any last drinks/snacks. I do a last breastfeed with my youngest at this point. At 7pm they go upstairs and do teeth, toilet etc. Then they get a bit of free play in my son’s room, get to read stories etc. Then my eldest gets tucked in and the little one goes upstairs to my room as we co-sleep. Her dad rocks her to sleep in a rocking chair and then she’s laid down once asleep. My eldest now goes to sleep without us staying with him (it took 5 years). We don’t sleep train in our house and follow gentle responsive ‘wait it out’ methods for allowing the children to sleep independently on their own terms when they are ready.”

 

 

  • Kate – “For our elder daughter it’s simply dinner, bath, book (and cereal – she’s so tiny and if she’s hungry we let her eat!), and bed. I usually tag in and out with her dad so I can attempt to feed her baby sister down whilst she’s having her book and brushing her teeth. Then I can be the one to tuck her in and sit with her for a few minutes, which is her preference. Naturally there are several variables which can dramatically alter this picture of domestic bliss. Two small people mean that more often than not there’s some protest or other, a few tears, and possibly a full-on meltdown thrown into the mix. And that’s before nighttime starts…”

I am sure as the boys get older our bedtime routines will adapt again, just as Louise’s has – “We used to do a bath and story before bed every night, now they’re a bit older they often shower in the morning so now it’s upstairs to do teeth, into pjs and then a little bit of reading in bed on their own before they go to sleep. It’s funny how you adapt as things like school and homework take over your evenings!”

Whats your top tip for bedtime routines? I would love to hear in the comments below.

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25 Comments

  1. ashleigh allan Reply

    Interesting reading different routines – we always went for bath book bottle and bed!

  2. For me it’s consistency, but also knowing when you need to change something. We do the same thing every night, but then Alice will change and we have to introduce a new step to the process to get her to stay in bed. We do that for about a week and then it’s back to normal. Like you say every child and house is different x

  3. Bedtime was what I dreaded the most about having a second child! We’ve settled into the same kind of routine as you – I take Ben up first and get him in his pyjamas, fed, and asleep, and then I come back downstairs to have a few minutes with Max before we head up to do his bedtime. Unfortunately they’re in next door rooms with only a thin wall and Max’s bedtime often results in Ben waking up, which is far from ideal. I tend to wait until my husband is home now to do Max’s bedtime just so that we have two pairs of hands (and he likes to wait up anyway, so it’s win-win really)

  4. Out of my three children, I have to say the baby is the best sleeper out of the lot. He LOVES his bed, and is more than happy to say goodnight most evenings, usually at 7pm. The older two were much more difficult to settle. However, he is the worst eater out of all of mine though, and I haven’t done anything differently with him than I did the other two. So frustrating when he won’t even try something! 😀

  5. Our routine if very similar to yours. We don’t bathe every night either because their skin becomes really dry and inflamed. So my top tip would be not to feel like you should be bathing them every night. I would also say that it is important that you have a set time when you start putting the children to bed because it’s important that you and your partner have some together too.

  6. My kids are all older now, so life in one way is so much easier btu of course my battle now is that my evening is not my own until at least about 9/9.30pm and that means I stay up far too late to get things done!

    My tip would be to stay open-minded, every child is different and just as you think you have a great routine, they change! Mich x

  7. Tracy Nixon Reply

    Great tips – a regular bedtime routine is a must and should continue at weekends and holidays too (n my opinion!)!

  8. paula cheadle Reply

    for me is a routine, I find it helps a great deal, also if you go out the babysitter can keep to your routine, to keep them happy

  9. Margaret Gallagher Reply

    Routine is essential – a few days without it can lead to weeks of disruption

  10. What an interesting post. Winding down everything from dinner time onwards to slower and quieter activities is helpful. I have recently introduced a Lumie bedbug light and it has proved a very useful sleep time aid for the youngest: when the light is off, it is time to sleep.

  11. Our bedtime routine is straightforward and involves a story each on our bed, everyone together. Thankfully they are all quite good at falling asleep by themselves. (I hope I haven’t just jinxed it!)

  12. Andrea Fletcher Reply

    A bedtime routine is a must. My grandson has a snack, story and then bed.

  13. Ren Taylor Reply

    When mine were little we had a similar routine and my sister uses something like this with my little nephew….routine is always good for children, especially at bed time

  14. Bedtime routines are so difficult – I ended up carrying mine to bed most nights after falling asleep on me. Usually gets better as they are older.

  15. Hannah Wallington Reply

    Routine is definitely really important, mine have both been terrible sleepers though.

  16. Hayley Colburn Reply

    I’m really keen to try the lumie light for our kids (could probably do with one myself too if i’m honest) my oldest 2 go to sleep really, well, its just our youngest we have a problem with, she wakes in the night loads

  17. Megan Adams Reply

    Consistency is definitely key to a good bedtime routine! Last year, we were having dinner quite late then the kids were going straight up to sleep. Now we try to do dinner about 5.30 which leaves some time after eating to relax before bath and bedtime. It has worked well for us!

  18. Amanda Gregory Reply

    A routine is vital. It was always a bath and then reading a book at bedtime for my children.

  19. Rosemary Tily Reply

    We had a very good routine which worked well with our first two children but the third baby was a real night owl. I still have memories of how she used her cot as a trampoline.

  20. Emma Walton Reply

    I failed miserably with bedtime with my first child and paid dearly for my mistakes. I made certain I didn’t make the same mistakes with my second child!

  21. I must admit, I struggle with bedtimes with age gaps between my children. This is really helpful. Thank you.

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