A friend and I were chatting recently about bedtime routines, and it’s interesting when you chat to other moms you realize that everyone has their own way of doing things. I remember getting stressed out when I was a new(er) mom about following the routine and steps of the books and blogs I read, and although they are helpful it’s good to find out what works for you. Here is the bedtime routine we have fallen into, I’m interested to hear yours also.
Poppy’s bedtime is 7pm, always. I love spending time with my girl, but the few hours when she’s asleep before me is the best. Time for David and I to have a glass of wine, play a game, eat a quiet dinner. Even if she doesn’t seem sleepy I still start bedtime and she can chat or whine in her crib as long as she wants before sleeping.
We start by saying goodnight to mumma or dada, whoever isn’t doing bedtime, so that she knows it’s time and doesn’t freak out when she gets to her room. We change into pajama’s, brush her teeth (which can sometimes take a lot of distracting – wandering around the house, asking her random questions… I’ve started listing everything she ate that day so that it motivates me to keep on brushing.), then she picks 3 books (the picking can often take longer than the reading), then it’s into her crib with a stuffy of choice, soother, and water bottle (I know, a bad habit for potty training!). Lights off, noise on, door shut.
We have done this routine for at least a year, and at first she always freaked out when I set her down in her crib but we were determined to have her learn how to go to bed on her own so we let her cry it out for a long time, going in when she was completely losing her sh*t to calm her down, and repeating until she was finally tired enough to give up. I’m so glad we endured those weeks of crying. Because now she just expects to be put in her room and come back to in the morning. Of course there are the random “Mummmmaa!!” calls in the middle of the night for a missing soother, sock, or sometimes a midnight banana. But I don’t mind, I actually kind of like getting to go back in and give her some cuddles.
Same goes for nap time, minus the books and pajamas, but I always make her take a nap even when she’s not sleepy. Sometimes she just sings songs or pouts in her crib for an hour and a half, but that time in the middle of the day is good for both of us to recharge.
But I have also realized the importance (for Poppy at least) of putting her down at the right time. The time of day has changed a lot, sometimes it’s not about letting her get extra tired but find the sweet spot when she’s ready to rest.