Need your little ones to accept bedtime and sleep through the night? This guide to Bedtime Routines will surely get you there! The most important thing for your sanity is less chaos, right? You need to lock in night time as mama time! How do I do that? You ask. It starts with setting a daily routine and sticking with it. For my complete guide to setting a routine click here!
Next, you need to have a bedtime routine. Keep it the same every night, they will expect it, look forward to it and accept it.
Hope I didn’t lose you already if you’re still with me prepare to learn some tricks that saved my caboose a time or two and incredibly amazing bedtime routines that are both calming, bonding, and educational!
We cover babies, tots, and bigger kids too! YaY!
As we know, babies are so very, highly individual and what works for one may not for the next. In sight of this, I will go over a few that worked for me from baby to baby.
- Turn the lights down. Bottle, burp, book. Change, grab blanky and any other of their must haves (i.e. stuffed animal). Rock them or lay them down, your choice. Sing a song in a low soothing voice. Make it the same song every night.
- Baby massage with lotion, you get to moisturize them and relax them at the same time! Then follow the italic portion of the step above.
- Try making a lavender bath part of their routine, then follow with bottle, burp, song, etc.
- There are thousands of different ways you can do this, make it your own and go off what works best for your baby. As they get into the older baby stage, try a smaller bottle (weaning starts early and slow) followed by a jar meal.
Play with feeding times, If they are due to eat a little too soon to make bedtime work, don’t feed them and then wait for the next feeding.
- For one thing, you’re playing a Lil game called mommy burnout!
- Secondly, you will ruin sleep training! (Post on that coming soon) instead, hold them off.
Try to engage them, be silly keep their minds off it or go for a short walk (weather permitting, of course) which in turn tires them out more…but if they are downright determined to eat and nothing’s going to get in their way,
I’m talking incredible hulk style.
“You wouldn’t like baby, When babies’ hungry!”
then I have a plan for that too, works like a charm, and is a win for baby and you..ready?…
Go to your pantry, see that cutesy little jar of pureed, I can’t believe I feed my kid this” Feed them ½ of the jar, and you’ll gain anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and there you have it. Congratulations mama, you just made it to the Golden hour!
That oh sweet time when they want the bottle and you look at the time and say to yourself, “hell yeah! I just might get more than 3 hours of sleep tonight”
The stage where “my way or no way, mommy! Hmph!” is pretty much a 50/50 toss up each night, am I right?
- Begin with brushing teeth and using the potty. Move on to saying a personal goodnight to everyone in the house. Then it’s time to “talk to the angel’s” we say our prayers, have story time then tuck in and kiss goodnight.
“I love you to the moon and back, forever, and ever,
with all my heart” (as I close the door.)
- Keeping it short and sweet, read a short story, tuck them in and kiss goodnight.
- The key is creating a nightly ritual and repeating it each night. Explore what works for your child and you best.
Warning- do not under any circumstance do as my dear hubby has done. Stretching out a nightly routine, adding on and giving in will only make all previous efforts futile. Follow your routine and if They’re particularly rambunctious or difficult one night, switch to the enforcer. (I cover this in my toddler routine post here)
Toddlers listen to reason! I will say it again, Toddlers listen to reason! At this stage in development their brains work much as ours do, they just haven’t filled it chock full of knowledge yet but believe me, they are capable of basic reasoning skills.
- Use reasoning to your advantage. Explain in a gentle tone why they need to get some sleep and reassure them that you will see them again when the sun comes up.
- If you have to, LIE LIE LIE your pretty lil ass off. Tell them “If you calm down and close your eyes, I will be back in 10 minutes to lay with you” (they will almost certainly fall asleep in that time)
- Every child is different, but usually, when the routine has become habitual they will accept it and soon go with the flow.
This toddler routine works great for the stuck in the middle group as well, say up until 6.
Here’s an adorable printable for you to keep somewhere your little one can see every night and use as a reminder or cue, and it’s free!
Older children tend to fight tooth and nail over the mere thought of going to bed and muster up every excuse in the book to get out of bed.
What I find works best for this group is more simple, no master routine or very many tricks are necessary. However, you will play “The Enforcer” much more with this age group.
Here’s a look at what I have found helpful
- Brush teeth, change into pj’s and hop into bed. Simple as that. Kids this age don’t need a dog and pony show. Let them know you love them and say goodnight.
- They can, however, be encouraged to say a prayer or read right before bed.
When they fight going to bed or continuously find excuses to come back out…
- Explain to them that Mommy + Daddy spend all day working and tending to you kids which we love doing but in order to have the energy and patience to do all of those things every day we need time to wind down and relax too. And each time you come out and don’t sleep the less time we have to rest. (And the kicker that usually seals it in, if we’re exhausted then we will be cranky and quicker to get mad.)
- Take time from them, every time they get up they lose 5 minutes of ______ or go to bed 5-10 minutes earlier the next night each time.
- The enforcer comes in handy here too!
These are some of what has helped me with my five little monkeys in various ages and stages and certainly different personalities.
I hope you found this helpful and wish you all the luck in the world!
What has and hasn’t worked for you? Comment below…
Want easier bedtimes?
Grab your free bedtime routine printable and start kicking night time in the face! Better sleep for them means better sleep for you!