Whilst we were away on holiday, without the children, we had time to do a lot of things, including of course… talk about our children! We spoke about how much we love them and how much we miss them. What we also spoke about was how disappointed we were in our current night-time routine and the changes we could implement for the better. From the day Ari and Chloe were born I had always prided in a stellar routine. Yes, I was a routine mum, and I honoured that routine like my life depended on it. As a result, I had babies and toddlers who slept well, fed well, and I generally knew what we were going to do at each moment of each day. You guess it, spontaneity is not my strong point! Though in recent months I had let our routine slip… And now I was paying the price. Poor is at the dinner table, late nights and battling with getting children to bed. All because I had been too busy to stay on top of the routine that we had previously put in place. Having time away from the children made me realise how much I appreciated my routine of the past, and the way that it had fit seamlessly into our lives. So, it was time to make a change… Since getting back from holiday and implementing our routine we have had such success with getting the children to sleep on time, and reclaiming moments as a couple and as a singular people in those night time hours. So, I wanted to share our bedtime routine with you in the hopes that it might help someone in the same situation that we were in.
Daytime – First of all a good night time routine begins with the day time. Our children wake at about 6.30 to 7 am which means that Chloe’s naptime must happen from 12 until two, or at worst from one until three. She still needs two hours sleep a day or she gets cranky in the afternoon. So, for her nap she must be awake by 3 pm in order to go to bed nicely in the evening. I organise to have lunch ready and her eating by 11 o’clock so she’s got time to enjoy the meal and digest her food before going to bed.
TV Time – We had found that our children had started to watch too much TV, they were asking for it all of the time especially in the evening and this was dragging out at bedtime. We decided that we would no longer have the TV on during our mornings or days, and it could only be watched at night time for 20 minutes. For us this is more than enough TV and has created a happy balance where the children look forward to watching a TV show of an evening. This is except for Ari watching a Disney movie once a week when Chloe is asleep and he’s home.
Night time – 5.30pm – At this time we all sit down to have dinner together. Prior to implementing the routine, we were having the children eat their meals in front of their TV on their own table, whilst I walked around the house doing chores. As much as I valued this time for getting things done it just wasn’t working. They were spilling food, things were going all over the floor, they were very distracted and not eating properly, and I often look over and they would be jumping on the couch! It wasn’t until I started implementing eating dinner at the table as a family that I realise how important it is. Now we have conversations, we talk about our day, the good and the bad parts of it. They eat their food, they use their manners. They must ask to leave the table when they’re finished and then go straight to wash their hands. We also get them to be involved in setting the table for dinner.
6pm – At this time they chose a TV show to watch together while I tidy up the table.
6.30pm – We start bath or shower time, which is quick as we don’t want to waste water and they would drag it out if they could.
6.35pm – We dress them, and they get to choose a book each to read for the evening. We have a huge library of books to pick from, and I try to mix it up, but there are favourites.
6.45pm – At this time we get them to go to the toilet and we brush their teeth and comb their hair. Then we start to wind down with either a massage or a back tickle. We make sure that we aren’t in the room when either of them falls asleep as we want to have them independently falling asleep completely by themselves. Otherwise we find this creates a bad habit, and they continue to want us into their room as they drift off. My favourite part of the night time routine is when I jump into Chloe’s cot to give her kisses and cuddles and we talk about our day.
7pm – By this time both children should be asleep. Of course, sometimes this does drag out, but I find it as long as we stay on top of it then we don’t have any issues. Now we get to enjoy our evening together, perhaps do a little bit of work or do something for ourselves.
I find the most important thing with a night timer routine is to stay consistent. Do the same thing every night and don’t stray from it. Especially with Chloe, if you give her an inch, she will take a mile, so to speak. So, we have them sleep with the same teddies every night, sing the same songs etc. Of course, we do all sorts of new things in the day, but at night we keep it simple.
I hope that this blog post has helped you in some way if you are struggling with your own routine. If you have any questions, please reach out to me on Instagram.