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What is your bedtime routine?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

What does a typical night in your house look like? How strict are you about your child's bedtime routine?  Please include bedtime and your child's age.


Our DS is almost 16 months. We usually eat dinner around 6:00 and play a little. Then daddy gives him a bath (except on Fridays)  and gets his pajamas on. When he's ready for bed, I put him back in the high chair and feed him some multigrain oatmeal made with coconut milk (this has taken us from the 1st to 4th percentile in 3 weeks). When he's full, we go into his bedroom, dim the lights, and turn on some white noise. We do whatever he wants for about 15 minutes, which usually means some less physical play and reading. At some point we brush his teeth while reading a book. Between 7:30 and 7:45 he will go pick up his Boppy (if not I'll ask him if he wants "milk please"). Then we'll quickly pick up, turn off the lights, and nurse. I rock or walk him until he's almost asleep, and then put him down around 8:00 pm. I wish we could get him to sleep earlier, but DH doesn't get home until close 6:00, so this let's them have more time together.


I'd say we follow this routine about 95% of the time.

post #2 of 17

I have one who is just turning 3 and one who is just turning 10. The 10-year-old has school so her bedtime is more rigid. She goes to bed between 8 and 8:30. The little one goes either just before or just after depending on how tired she is. If she isn't tired it takes a long time to get her to sleep, and then the older one gets to bed too late.

We eat around 6, and then the kids play while I clean up after dinner. Oh the older one usually has homework, and always had piano to practice, and likes to read. The little one just plays.


Anyway, as far as the toddler's bedtime routine: she takes a bath before bed a couple of days a week, otherwise she just gets her faced wiped, and I brush her teeth and then she follows up brushing All By HerSelf. I change her into jammies, then put her in bed and read to her, sing her a lullaby, and lie with her till she's asleep.

post #3 of 17

I wish we had a more rigid bed-time and an earlier bed-time... however DS (16 mon) older siblings (7 and 9) don't have a set bed-time and it's difficult to get DS to bed when the older ones are up and DS can hear the noise and wants to join in. I typically end up waiting until older kids go to bed, to be able to get DS down.


Typical evening:

7:00pm dinner

7:30pm bath & brush teeth

(play time)

9:00pm read books in rocker with DS

9:30pm - 10:30pm he falls asleep

post #4 of 17

My son's a bit over 2, and our bedtime routine has evolved a lot since he was 16 months old.  I can't even remember what we did back then.  :)  I think I mostly walked him to sleep in the Ergo, then snuck him into bed after.  


Here's what we do now on an average night:


At 7 pm, I give him notice that we'll be starting to get ready for bed in 15 minutes.  Abrupt transitions are not his thing, so this is an important step and makes the whole thing go more smoothly.


At 7:15, we clean up any toys that are out.


He uses his potty for the last time.

We take off his daytime clothing & put on his bedtime diaper and pajamas.


I read him a book, my husband reads him a book.


We brush teeth-- usually he takes a turn to brush his teeth and then we take a turn to brush them for him.  (He's actually quite good at brushing but doesn't hurt to be extra thorough.)


We put him in bed.  I sing 3 songs of his choosing to him.  I give him hugs and kisses and wish him goodnight, turn the light off, and leave.


The goal is to have him in his bed with the door to the bedroom closed by 8 p.m.  Some nights, we're done by 7:30.  Some nights it's more like 8:30.  He'll ask for long books, or will dawdle with making his song selections, or toy cleanup takes a long time, or we just get started late or whatever.  I don't really care about getting him in bed by a certain deadline... I just want him in early enough that he gets a significant amount of rest.  He pops up at 6 a.m. WHENEVER we put him to bed (even if he stays up super, super late) so it's in everyone's interest to make sure he gets in bed fairly early.


I'm due with #2 any day now and very curious (and a little terrified) to see how this changes our bedtime routine... what we've got right now is pretty awesome, but ah, it is the nature of kids to just be changing constantly.

post #5 of 17

5:45 - We get home and eat dinner

After dinner, we play together in the living room for a few minutes

6:20 - Bath time, then pajamas & books

6:45 - Bottle with daddy, and then into his crib


He's almost always asleep by 7:00.  It stinks that he goes to bed so early when we haven't seen him all day, but we've tried keeping him up later and the results are disastrous - major meltdowns at bedtime, still up at the same hour the next day and it takes us days to get back on track.


He's 18 months, and we really need to quit that bedtime bottle - honestly, I don't think he's all that attached to it.  But he was a year old before he'd let DH put him to bed, so DH is having a hard time letting go.

post #6 of 17
Originally Posted by LittleBirdy View Post
He's almost always asleep by 7:00.  It stinks that he goes to bed so early when we haven't seen him all day, but we've tried keeping him up later and the results are disastrous - major meltdowns at bedtime, still up at the same hour the next day and it takes us days to get back on track.


DS has been having melt-downs at bedtime, I wonder if getting him down earlier would help. If the next few nights don't go well, I might give that a try. Although he seems to be a night-owl (and I am an early bird).


post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 



Originally Posted by coldandsleepy View Post


I just want him in early enough that he gets a significant amount of rest.  He pops up at 6 a.m. WHENEVER we put him to bed (even if he stays up super, super late) so it's in everyone's interest to make sure he gets in bed fairly early.


DS is the same way. I think we could put him in bed at midnight, and he'd still wake up at 6:15! It's better than it was over the summer, though. We had to buy black-out curtains for his room because the first hint of sunlight woke him up. He wouldn't have gotten up earlier if we had made him sleep with a rooster.



post #8 of 17

These days I'm not strict about bedtime routines at all. We just kind of fell into what works best for all of us. Typically DD (7) gets ready for bed around 7:30, she and DS (17 months) brush their teeth, they play and/or we read until around 8-8:30, at which point DD goes to bed. Then I take DS outside to walk around for a few minutes (he really seems to need the outside time to wind down), come inside, clean up, and nurse to sleep. He's usually asleep by 9-9:30. Sometimes it all happens a little earlier, sometimes later, but usually the same basic routine. They're both pretty good about self-regulating when it comes to sleep, and neither is interested in being up without the other.

post #9 of 17
Change diaper. Brush teeth. Lay down in bed, get kisses, hugs, turn the lights off & go to bed.
post #10 of 17

We are quite rigid about the routine -- and if I forget a step, DS (almost 2) is quick to remind me!


Eat dinner around 5:30. Play some after dinner, depending on how long dinner lasts and how late his nap was. Go upstairs around 6:15 to brush teeth and put pajamas on. Usually some playing around with his sister, who is also getting ready for bed. Then read books -- exactly 3, he complains if it's more or less, nurse with the light out, and go into his crib. It's usually 6:45 by this point. Sometimes he'll go to sleep after singing to himself a little, other nights he wants his daddy to come up and rock him a bit.

post #11 of 17

We stick to ours. The kids love it, thrive by it, find comfort in it. My DH is in law enforcement and often has a changing schedule. But the end of their day with Mama, whether DH is here or not, follows the same predictable pattern, and they never fight bed time. 


5:30 - Dinner

6:00 - Play/Clean up toys of the day mess

6:30 - Bath + Pajamas + teeth brush

6:55 - Bedtime story

7:00 - DD (12 mo) goes to bed, I nurse her to sleep in her crib, DS watches Calliou waiting for me (thank heavens for Calliou.....)

7:15 - 7:30 - DS & me one-on-one time, I typically let him choose cartoon, talk, book, color, cuddle, whatever activity he'd like to do with me

7:30 - DS (3 y/o) goes to bed. I tuck him in, he calls it "cuddle me up time" for 3 minutes, kiss him goodnight, he tells me not to let the bed bugs bite, and goes to sleep



DD absolutely melts down if she's kept up past 7, and the same is true if DS is kept up past 8. They both wake up at 5 am regardless of WHAT time I put them down, so I go for early. Sometimes when DD is extra cranky she'll actually go down at 6:30.

post #12 of 17

My husband gets home at 3:30, so we have an early schedule (yay!)  DD is 22 months and DS is 3.5yrs


5:00 eat dinner/clean up dinner

5:30-6:45 playtime and bath time if needed

6:45 brush teeth, potty, jammies 

        I read two stories to our daughter and put her to bed

        DH reads one book to our son and then I go in after DD is in bed and read him another

7:00 both kids are in bed


We are not very rigid in our routine and it's not much of a routine.

post #13 of 17

We have a 14.5mo, and she goes to sleep sometime between 6:30-8. 


She gets in the tub about 5:30, then she gets her diaper and a camisole on. We eat dinner 6-6:30ish. Depending on how she is after dinner, we'll either put her to bed or hang out quietly until she's ready. When it's time for sleep, she gets a bedtime diaper and pjs on, we say night nights, and then I take her in our dark bedroom with a sippy of water. She nurses in bed until nearly asleep, then we cuddle until she's out. It's very peaceful and smooth. She anticipates sleep several steps before it is time to turn, she's even getting to the point that she wants sleep.


For most of her infancy we bathed her after dinner. But, it was energizing her instead of relaxing her, so it was pushing bedtime back too late. The routine fell into place nicely when we switched bath and dinner. We just make sure pjs go on after her meal to cut down on the mess.


We stick to the routine as best as circumstances allow. The whole household thrives on it, and I can kinda turn on autopilot after especially trying days. 

post #14 of 17


Since I'm also a teacher, I'm pretty into routines.  Here's ours which has been in effect from 14 months to the present (he's now 2):


I get home from work around 5pm.


Dinnertime is around 5:30 or so. 


After dinner, we go for a walk if weather/sun permits.  If not, he plays indoors until about 6:30 or so. 


He loves to read, so from 6:30 to 7pm, we read books.  I'f I've had a really rough day at school and I'm too tired, we might watch a short video on my laptop instead.  That's about the only way I can get him to sit still in my lap.


We both take a bath/shower around 7pm. 


Right after that, it's PJs and brushing teeth.


Then he gets a drink of water, and we read a couple more books, then it's off to bed at around 8pm, give or take about 15 minutes.  On the way to bed, we say goodnight to everything, which he enjoys.  I find it's a good transition activity so that the going to bed is not so abrupt.


He stopped sleeping with us at around a year, and sleeps in the room right next to ours.  Bedtime is pretty easy--although he doesn't go to sleep right away, he is usually content to be alone in his room.  I hear him talking to himself and playing with his stuffed animals.  Most of the time, he falls asleep within an hour. 




post #15 of 17

For us we have a pretty strict bedtime for our 4 year old and a less strict one for our cosleeping, breastfeeding 2 year old. My 4 year old gets notices that bedtime is coming soon from 8-8:15pm. Usually around 8:15pm we put on pajamas and then we read two books, one that each of our children picks. The 4 year old is in bed right around 8:30pm, the 2 year old needs me to lie with him so it is usually closer to 9:30pm before he is asleep. Our 4 year has always been more grouchy in the mornings though and seems to need the extra sleep. Also she has school and does not take naps like her brother does. Also I should mention that my kids are not early risers, usually they do not have to be up until 8am and they sleep until I wake them or they wake themselves not long before. We do hope to establish a better routine with him before baby #3 arrives in July.

Edited by Aliyahsmommy - 1/21/12 at 4:26pm
post #16 of 17

We have dinner between 6:30-7:00 and it takes about 1/2 hour.

Someone cleans while the other parent plays with DD (2.5yr) or she plays a bit by herself.

If it is bath night she will have a bath at about 7:45pm and play in there for a bit.

If no bath, then she just plays or reads in livingroom with us.

She gets a burst of energy and literally runs in circles around the room while we make her stuffed animals chant her name. She gets a huge kick out of this and it gets the energy and sillies out. 


We tell er it is time for bed and ask if she wants jammies first or brush teeth first. She decides and we go with her choice of the evening.

We brush teeth, she does it first and then one of us. 

Then washrrom, then night diaper and jammes.

We used to read a couple of books in the living room (2 or 3, depending on the time) and now we take the books and read them in bed. 


We then go upstairs by 8:30pm and lay in bed with her. She rolls around and stamps her feet on the bed for 15 minutes and then settles down and goes to sleep. Usually she is fully asleep by 9:00 but sometimes not until 9:30pm. It can get frustrating. We cannot leave the room until she is asleep.


She wakes up between 7:00-8:00am. We do not wake her up but allow her to wake by herself. She sleeps through the night unless she is sick.

She naps for 1.5 hours in the afternoon. If she fights the naps and doesnt have one, she is asleep before 8pm.

We all sleep in the same room together. 

post #17 of 17

Most of the time it's just me doing bedtime routine, but lately DH has been getting home from work early, so our days look like this:


6:00- Dinner

6:30- bath for DD, DS joins after he's done eating.

7:00- diaper, jammies, nurse DD, lay in crib, she's usually out by 7:15 or 7:30

       DH gets DS out of the tub, jammies, reads him a book and puts him to bed(ideally this would be by 8, but it's usually not until 9 or 9:30). DS is great

       at stalling bedtime and DH has ADD so it takes him forever to actually get DS to bed, lol.

by 9:30 both kids are asleep. whew. When DH is gone, DS watches caillou while I'm putting DD to bed and then I go and finish DS routine with him.




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