The Bedtime Routine
If you were to ask me and B what our biggest challenge in parenting has been thus far, we would easily answer: Sleep! O will be two this June and most nights he still does not sleep through the night. Do you want to know a secret? He isn’t the only one. Most toddlers wake at least once during the night.
In our sleep seeking adventures, we’ve found a couple of things to be most important: rhythm and environment.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth saying again… O’s room is a calm space primarily for resting and dressing. Note that I say resting and not necessarily sleeping. Though we keep O’s toys in the main living space rather than his room, this does not mean his room is off limits during waking hours. On the contrary, the door is left open and this space gladly serves as a quiet retreat for a little down time to look out a window or rock and read a book.
Some aspects of O’s room that give it this calm feeling are the decor as well as the lack of clutter. We have intentionally chosen neutrals and blues for a soothing almost spa like palette. The white curtains diffuse the light coming in through the windows to provide the room with a soft glow. The lack of clutter applies not only to the physical space but the other senses as well. One of our best investments for O’s room has been a quality sound machine. It blocks out noise from the outside world while providing a soothing “white noise” sound.
O’s book sling can be found in our living room
In the book Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne says that a successful night’s sleep begins the minute you wake up in the morning. This couldn’t be more true, especially for little ones! Our bedtime routine begins with a predictable rhythm throughout the entire day, including a solid nap. Our evening routine begins when B gets home from work and then procedes a little something like this:
4:00: B arrives home and settles in. The evening meal is prepared.
5:00: Evening meal at the table together.
6:00: B does potty and bathtime with O while I wash the dishes and putter around.
6:30: PJs, 2 books, snack, brush teeth, bedtime book.
7:15: Say goodnight, hugs & kisses, B rocks O to sleep and sings to him while mama retreats for some mama-time.
Of course, all these times are approximate but it’s amazing how even without looking at the clock it all still seems to fall into place at about the same time each day! Giving O this predictable rhythm to his day, particularly at bedtime, provides him with an invaluable sense of security. It also eases our role as the parents of a busy toddler.
What is the bedtime routine like in your home?
- O sleeps with his Snoedel every night! (It really does help!)
- A tutorial for the book sling can be found on Penny Carnival.
- We have found having a lambskin helps to create a very welcoming sleep environment.
- If you are looking for gentle sleep resources, we have found both Elizabeth Pantley‘s No Cry Sleep Solution books to be wonderful.