Friday, August 19, 2011

3 Bedtime Routine Musts: Getting Your Tot Ready For Bed

I have two little guys. One is 18 months old & he falls asleep like a champ. My other is 3 years old & it seems that over the past 2-3 months I've noticed a big change in his ability to settle down & fall asleep. He wants to talk, play, get out of bed, & just be plain mischievous! Some nights we follow a bedtime routine & other nights we don't. It all depends on what's going on. What's a mom to do??

Establish A Routine
Whether you have a baby or a toddler, bedtime routines are a must for encouraging a good nights sleep. Studies have shown that kiddos with a fairly consistent bedtime routine have better attitudes during the day {as does mama} & they wake less often at night. How great is that? Getting yourself & your kiddo used to a routine is another thing. Change is tough & being consistent is even tougher.

Routine Basics

  1. Decide what 3 things you're going to include in your nightly routine & in what order.
  2. No matter what time your little one's "bedtime" is, you should begin your nightly routine 30-45 minutes before "bedtime". 
  3. Get everything ready before hand so that the routine runs smoothly as well. Make sure you have everything within reach...pjs, book on bed, scents, etc.

What Should Your Routine Include?
I'm sure there are many different things that can make up an awesome bedtime routine. The main things to consider when choosing activities for your routine is that they are quiet & calming! I'm going to share my 3 below.

Giving your kids a bath before bed will probably be the most important part of your nightly routine. Baths can be fun & playful, but I'd suggest saving the wild play for morning baths. Night-time baths should be calming & soothing. Make sure your water is warm, have a few simple toys, & make everything smell good! Lavender is the best scent for calming your baby or toddler. You can use bath fizzies or herbal bath teas for the water & use lavender scented soaps & shampoos for washing.

No matter how old you are, a massage is always nice. After your little one is done with his or her bath, dry him off & put on some lavender scented oil or lotion before putting his jammies on. This way the properties of the lavender can seep into their skin & they can smell them all night long! Make sure to rub it in really well, giving them a mini-massage. It will help them relax. 

Reading is a great activity to do with your child right before bed. Kids love having stories read to them! Just make sure you pick an age appropriate book that's not too long & isn't real exciting. Have your kiddo get in bed, tuck them in, & then read to them. You can spray lavender water onto their bed & pillow to help carry that calming scent. Just make sure it's a natural fragrance & not synthetic! You can also place a lavender pillow in the bed with them too!

Off To Bed
Once you've finished your nightly routine, it's important to keep the distractions to a minimum. Give hugs & kisses, sing your special song, tuck everyone in, turn the lights off, & go. Hopefully it will be that simple & they'll settle in & go right to sleep. If not, it may take a week or so of being consistent with your new routine to get them used to it, but don't give up. The payoff is at the end!

What is your bedtime routine like?


  1. I probably have the worst bed time routine, but I say that because when I was pregnant with #2, #1 didn't want to go to bed EVER. So there was a lot of frustration, crying (from me and him). Now things have settled to the point that I put #2 (now 3) into bed half an hour before #2 (now 5) and it works great! I don't think I could do it any other way.

  2. That's great that you've found something that works for you & your little ones! I think what's most important is that they're used to how "bedtime" works & hopefully settled down enough by that point to go to sleep. Thanks for your input!