Well, this is always an exciting one isn’t it?!
We moved house in May of this year and we noticed Oscar’s sleep was all over the place, he had become accustomed to my working late and PJ’s at Nana’s and falling asleep on their sofa then being brought home or bed at 6pm when he hadn’t had a nap and bed at 10pm when he had a danger nap… we had to make a change!
I decided that since we were moving and we now both had jobs Monday – Friday finishing at a reasonable hour it was time to go back to basics and get him in to a routine that worked for us, here it is.
I don’t think we need to address this on every single post but as a disclaimer, I am not a professional and what works for us may not work for you but I stand by the idea that taking things back to basics even as a starting point always works, then you adjust the routine to fit with your family.
A nice warm bath was Oscar’s favourite time as a baby but as he’s grown up he’s taken a disliking to them, I will say this was only rectified after we introduced bath crayons sent to us by the beautiful Laura, I have always thought they’re an important step to winding down for bed though, I am a HUGE fan of a bubble bath, I try to use a lavender based bubble bath for Oscar’s bedtime bath and if I don’t have any, or he’s got some fun sailor bubble bath, I’ll put some lavender essential oils on a cotton pad and pop it up on the shower shelf so the steam of running the bath and warmth fills the bathroom with the calming scent.
When Oscar wakes up in the morning I pull his duvet back, open his windows and spray his bed with diluted Lenor, then when the bath is running I’ll go in to his room, close the curtains and spray his pillow with sleep spray. At the moment we’re using the ‘this works deep sleep pillow spray‘ which, if you’ve followed us since the start you’ll note we have ALWAYS used. (If you require more newborn/baby tailored advice please read our baby bedtime routine here)
My goodness Oscar grows so fast, he seems to grow out of PJ’s on a monthly basis at the moment! He’s been wearing the bottom half only at the moment because it’s been so warm but we put him in a new PJ mask onesie the other night and about half an hour later heard
“Daddddddyyyy, come in my wwwoooooom”
There we found him stripped out of the onesie, having only opened ONE BUTTON?!!! This has now happened twice so we can safely assume he’s over it.
Once the bath is done and the PJ’s are on it’s time to snuggle down in bed and usually either Mummy or Daddy get in bed with him whilst the other sits in a beanbag next to Oscar’s bed and reads one of his books, then maybe a second.
We still have half of Oscar’s monitor out, it’s the half that lives in his room, this is because there is a lullaby on there that we have played for him since he was a couple of months old, it helped when we transitioned him to his own room and also helps now because he associates that song with sleep time. I think that’s definitely a tip of mine, consistency, if you have something that can play music to them play the same song every single night and only when it’s sleep time, from day 1!
I’m not going to write this post pretending we’ve had a challenging time with Oscar’s sleep, because that would be a lie, he’s always been so so good at sleeping so we’ve been really lucky, but to summarise, I would advise the following;
- Get a routine down from early days, if your child is older and you have never had a routine don’t panic but make sure both parents are in agreement of how to tackle it, are you going to let them cry it out? If so how long and also, another important thing to agree on is, what will you do when you do go in the room? My advice with that is DON’T TALK!! Just go in, no lights, lay them back down, give them a shhh shhh if needed, give them back their comforter if they have one and leave, and repeat and repeat and repeat as needed. Exhausted in the short term but in the long term you’ll get your adult time and sleep time back.
- Choose a realistic bedtime; it may be that your child is tired at 6 but can you realistically feed them and bath them and calm them down ready for bed every single day at this time? Oscars bedtime is 8pm because we know we can always get him ready by that time, don’t get me wrong, some days he’s so exhausted from school he just goes to bed at 7pm off his own back, in this case it’s just PJ’s and music and that’s ok because he doesn’t now necessarily need every single step when he’s tired
- When they’re old enough to understand; reward good behaviour- whether it’s an extra book or a film you can incorporate rewards in to bedtime, at the moment we let Oscar watch a film in bed on a Friday or Saturday night, the TV is put on a sleep timer for an hour and he loves those days
- Make bedtime enjoyable! There’s absolutely no need for bedtime to be such a rush job, don’t get me wrong I know there’s a lot to get on with but even if one of you can spare the time to put them to bed and take that time with them it’s so much better, it’s usually Ciaran in our house, putting Oscar to bed, it’s their Daddy and Son time, which is BLINDLY apparent when I join in and I don’t understand their secret handshake!
Do you do any of these steps in your bedtime routine? What things do you do that I’m missing? Share your tips below…