Our Sleep Routine

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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!

Q : When do you start a sleep routine? How soon is too soon?
A : Day 1! It’s never too soon to start a sleep routine as all children thrive when they know what to expect next. The key word is “routine” – we’re not talking about strict schedules or watching a clock constantly, but getting a good routine in place is important. This means having a short routine that could consist of a bath, feeding, books and/or songs and even using specific language as you lay them down. Consistency in these routines is key!
Q : How do you get a baby to sleep through the night so early on?
A : Every baby is different and not all babies can sleep through the night early on! It’s 100% normal for a baby to still need feedings over night up until 6 months of age so remember that your child is unique and give yourself some grace if this is your child. That being said, if it is going to happen for you the best way to get there is to help your child learn independent sleep skills and self soothing techniques early on. If your child can put himself to sleep completely on his own those longer stretches of sleep overnight will come! This stems from consistency in how you respond to the child in every sleep situation he or she encounters.
Q : How do you know what to do for a sleep routine? Is this the ideal schedule?
A : An ideal routine is about 20-30 minutes long and consists of a bath, feeding, reading a book and/or singing a song and laying the child down awake. Your routine may be different depending on your family and your schedule, but once you find a routine that works it’s important to be consistent in that routine so the child can feel safe and secure knowing what will happen next at each step along the way.
Q : We do not have a sleep routine for my two year old. HELP! 
A : It’s never too late to start a routine! Putting one in place, especially for a 2 year old who is just learning to push boundaries and manipulate the world around him, is really important. Keep it short and to the point – 20-30 minutes max – and make it fun! There will be a period of adjustment but if you have patience and stay consistent it should come together!
Q : Is your sleep and naptime routine the same? 

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.

 

Q : What would you change about your routine? 
A : After reading Emily’s answers, I am going to try to shorten my bed time routine. Right now it takes about an hour and ideally it should be half the time.  If you don’t count the 30 minute bath time, then we are right on point!
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