It is time for play, the time to get all the silliness out from our day & the time to bond at dinner. After dinner, she knows it is time to start our bedtime routine. Now that Scarlett is 22 months old, we have found a nighttime routine that works well for us, but it wasn’t easy. Consistency has always been key & working with one another has made it successful so far.
Finding a bedtime routine that works for you and your family takes time, patience & the ability to try a few things out. It took us awhile, but we have fond the 5 B’s for Bedtime that work for us.
Who doesn’t love bath time? It can be fun, relaxing & there are so many opportunities to talk, interact, read & play with your little one. This is one of my favorite bonding times with Scarlett. We have bath books, a water xylophone & cups to pour & “help” Mama with washing.
I recently wrote a blog post on 3 Baby Products That Are Growing With Us, where I share just a few products we still use with Scarlett. A few others that I left off the list, but am still loving & using are the Erbaviva Body Wash & her baby bath tub by Summer Infant.
She use the big tub here & there, but she asks for this one. It keeps everything contained, plus it came with a pink stool/riser that we used for when she was an infant. I now sit on it & we also use it as a step stool. The stool will come in handy for a few more years too! Here is one that is similar to ours.
The Erbaviva Wash has always been our go to. It doesn’t have any of the harmful stuff, it smells amazing & a little bit goes along way. I purchase it at my local spa, but you can find it listed on their website or you can find a local retailer near you.
Once we are dressed in our pajamas, it is time to settle down with a handful of books & relax. We have a toy/book shelf right in the living room so that they are accessible through out the day, but especially at bedtime. She also has some in her organizer in her room.
We have been reading books with Scarlett since she was born, regardless of her knowing or understanding words at the time. Reading with your little one at a young age familiarizes them with your voice & tone, introduces them to contrasts & then colors, and helps with hand/eye coordination.
Not only do we allow books, but we have a few quiet activities that we allow, like picnic time!
We will be working on phasing out this nighttime bottle very soon, but we still give little miss a bottle of milk before as we wrap up book reading. For the record, she only has one in the morning when she wakes up & then one during reading time at night.
She becomes quite upset first thing in the AM if she doesn’t have one & then likes to enjoy one when we read. This is what works for us until she wants to enjoy food first thing in the AM & once she learns to enjoy milk with some cereal.
We do not use it as a soother or as her way of going to sleep, like I use to when she was very little. Now, it is just a little something to make sure her tummy is full & ready for the night. I want to try and cut the bottle out by her second birthday.
I won’t lie, when we first started brushing her teeth, it was an absolute nightmare. She fought us every little bit. We tried different toothbrushes, toothpastes & we even tried holding her a certain way, but nothing worked. I decided to try out a spin brush, as I had heard a lot of kids enjoyed them. That was the start of a much better routine, but she still wasn’t understanding, even watching Daddy & I.
We don’t allow screen time on our phones with our little, except for this occasion. My husband found an Elmo song on YouTube that was about brushing your teeth. It has a fun rhythm, videos of kids & families brushing, and it even has some celebrities featured in it. Scarlett loves the video & it immediately allowed us to brush her teeth a bit & then let her finish at the end.
If you are looking for a really fun toothbrush, I love this Jack N’ Jill Buzzy Toothbrush. It plays numerous songs, comes with a pack of stickers to decorate it & you can replace the heads for prolonged use.
The final step in our routine, just like brushing our teeth, wasn’t always easy. With babies & toddlers, each one goes through their stages of growth & development and learning their own sleep routine is own of those stages.
We did a lot of research on different styles of sleep training a little over a year ago. There are many different techniques & again, every child & families situation is unique & different.
Scarlett has been sleeping in her crib since she was very little, for nap time & bedtime. Not too long after her first birthday last September, she started to regress in her sleep. She fought us really hard even after our routine & we gave in to her cries & demands to stay up late. Once asleep, she would be up & crying not even two hours later. We would rock her back to sleep & then the cycle would go on & on again the next night. Something had to change.
We read a bit about the cry it out method & ways to make it work for you & your family. It is not for everyone & many don’t agree with it, but I like to believe in pro-sleep. Whatever method has worked for you, I want to hear because WAY TO GO! Getting your little to sleep isn’t always easy.
It wasn’t a matter of her not being tired, she just wanted to be up playing & hanging out with us. I get it kid, going to sleep isn’t nearly as fun as reading books with Mama & Dada, but when 7:30-8pm comes around, it is bedtime & your sleep is incredibly important.
The first night came when we sang our ABC’s & we pointed to our letters on the wall. We sang it a few times & waved it goodnight.
We tucked her with no fight, but the moment the door shut, the tears & cries began. It tore at our heart strings, but we couldn’t give in. I hate to admit it, but she cried for an hour.
Consistency was key at this point, we couldn’t give in. The following night we did the same thing. We followed our routine, tucked her in & the cries came again. This time, the crying lasted no more than 20 minutes.
She knew that her comfy bed meant bedtime; time to relax & it was time for sleep.
This was over a year ago & our method has still worked for us. Scarlett goes to bed anywhere between 730-8pm and due to summer, wakes up between 6-7am. During the fall & winter months, she may sleep in till 8 or 9 on those very rare occasions.
Of course, there are the occasional holidays/off nights that we run late, but we know the importance of routine & so do our family and friends. If you communicate how important it is to you & your little to stick to a schedule, they should & like ours, will respect your time.
I want to hear all about your bedtime routines & what has & hasn’t worked for you. Parenting is all about trial & error and learning together. I can’t wait to hear your story.