When it comes to sleep routines, consistency is key. Whether it be nap time or bedtime, it’s important to stay true to the course because children thrive off what they can expect. We started our sleep routine when James was an infant and have carried it through for Henry.
6:00pm – Bathtime / Changing
Now that Henry is sitting on his own, bath time has become significantly easier. Both boys bathe together. Henry LOVES being in the water while James has slowly warmed up to it and still has a love/ hate relationship. Not only are the babies getting washed and cleaned, it’s an activity time. Depending on their moods, baths range from 15 – 30 minutes, where getting washed is the last minute of the process. Right after the bath, we mosey on over to the boys’ bedroom where they get changed and ready for the night. This includes nighttime diaper, pajamas, and lotioned.
6:30pm – Last Bottle
An 8oz bottle is always offered to Henry after bath time. Depending when he woke up from his nap, he may not be interested. James usually likes to have a fruit pouch or two during this time as well.
6:45pm – Playtime / Books
Disassociating feeding and sleep is important. We’ll play with cars, watch a show for a few minutes or read a book to disconnect and unwind.
7:00/7:15pm – Bed
When Henry was born, Jimmy started singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow when it was time to go to bed. James instantly knows it’s time to go upstairs when it’s sung. He will stop everything he is doing, grab a stuffed animal or toy, grab our hand and head towards the stairs. Once in the boys’ bedroom, Henry gets changed, put into his sleep sack and laid in his crib. While Henry is resting, James brushes his teeth in the bathroom. We sing a little ‘brushing teeth’ jingle and when the song is over, James knows teeth brushing is done! We head back to his room, change, sleep sack on and get into bed. Once our kisses and I love yous are complete, I refill the humidifier, turn on the sound machine, turn off the lights and close the door. This whole process doesn’t take longer than 10 – 15 minutes.
Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Emily Freilino, has chimed in with her expertise answering your questions!
A : Naptime routines are generally just a shortened version of the bedtime routine! So while your bedtime routine may take 20-30 minutes, your nap time routine should be similar but only take 5-10 minutes.
Q : It takes us so long to put our 3 year old to bed. Like an hour. What can we do differently?
A : This is tricky without knowing exactly what happens during your routine, but one of my favorite tools for toddler who like to take their sweet time is a visual timer. There are some great, cheap options on Amazon but these timers are great because they allow the child to visualize how much time they have left to complete a task. Remember, a good bedtime routine is 20-30 minutes long so timing each aspect of the routine to fit in that mold could help to speed things along.