Bedtime has gone from being a relaxing time, to pure hell, to okay, to “I just won’t do it,” and back to pleasant at least 10 times in the past 8 months. Bedtime struggles for us happened even before baby #2 was born. It used to be really easy and really fast. Then our toddler hit her first sleep regression EVER. She was an amazing sleeper from the night she was born until that point. It was hard on all three of us, especially because I was having a really hard pregnancy. I got to the point (more times than I want to admit) that I just dreaded bedtime. And that really broke my heart. I felt so bad, so I would try a new routine at bedtime and that would work for awhile and then it would be a struggle again. What I needed to (that I realized one night when January Harshe said it on her snapchat) is that I needed to let go of my own bedtime expectations and find something that worked for Amelia.
Well, bedtime has been a lot better lately. We have been doing the same routine for awhile now, although sometimes bedtime reality is still difficult and no one ends up falling asleep when they should. But that’s life with a two year old and four month old baby.
We co-sleep with both of our kids most of the time, and all these things are what work for us. But every family, parent, and child are different so different things may work for you that won’t for us, or vice versa. That’s okay! I just wanted to share a little bit on how we got things to work at our home! For now, at least!
7 p.m. Play or Walk: Amelia plays to get all her “wiggles” out! Sometimes she will play with toys, dance, go outside, or we go for a walk/bike ride when the weather is nice enough. It’s the last hour of play for all of us before it’s time to get into bed time mode. (NOTE: If the t.v. was turned on for some reason after dinner it is shut off now for the night. If we are inside during this play time we will play relaxing music until bedtime!)
After that, if it’s a bath day the kids will bathe together and then get dressed for bed. We LOVE to use Honest Co. bath products and use their lavender soap and lotion at bedtime for the kids.
8 p.m. Bedtime Eating: Calum has his bedtime milk which dad likes to give to him. While he is spending this time with Cal, I will get Amelia a banana with peanut butter. When she finishes, I typically still have to get her pajamas on and then we brush teeth! Amelia brushes her teeth first and then I finish for her. She actually really loves to brush her teeth! I hold Cal while he falls asleep and we all read bedtime stories together. This is the best part. Amelia and Calum love to snuggle up in bed and listen to mom and dad read.
Cal always falls asleep fast and then I lay him in his bassinet. Amelia usually wants to go lay in her bed, so she will. Occasionally she does fall asleep the first try in her bed, but more commonly she will get us a few times. Sometimes she needs an additional snack. Then we all go lay in bed together to get her to go to sleep. Her bedtime is 9 but she needs to go through this up and down routine before she will fall asleep sometimes, so we start early!
We have tried a lot of the “bedtime tricks” to get to this point. Relaxing music and diffusing lavender help get everyone calm before bed. Sticking to a routine has helped too. Amelia knows what to expect and what comes next now, so when it is time for sleep she isn’t sad about it anymore. Bananas have a lot of magnesium which helps sleep and the peanut butter helps keep her full until breakfast. The biggest help has been giving her the time she wants and needs to get to sleep. Like I said, sometimes it’s easy and she will fall asleep in her bed the first or second time. Other times we lay with her the first try and she will fall asleep or maybe need a few snacks first. Starting early makes us less stressed about what time it is while she is getting up, which is so nice.
This is realistic for us, and it works for us. But it wouldn’t for everyone! I’m just glad bedtime isn’t too hard now that we have two babes to get to sleep every night. The reality of bedtime is getting better, and we just have to adjust where needed so it fits our kids needs better. Again, all kids are different so the routine needs to be fitted to them, not them fitted to the routine.
These are some of our favorites books to read at bedtime right now, though I like to try to switch it up every night. We like to have Amelia choose with us too so we are reading what she is interested in. She loves Socks! and the Olaf hug book the best!
Here’s to getting your kids to sleep on time tonight, mama’s (and dad’s)!
P.S. note the nice lump on my forehead from hitting myself with the car door last night on our way to get Waffle Luv. So nice. Haha!