Looking for quiet pre-bedtime activities - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-09-2010, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So for the past two days, for the first time ever, DD has been on a reasonable sleep schedule. :j oy

If you've read any of my other posts about sleep, then you can appreciate how wonderful this is.

Anyway, she fell asleep at 9:30 last night and tonight, after having a nap, which is previously unheard of for her (used to be 11 pm unless she didn't nap). Now I want to tweak the evenings so everyone in our family can actually ENJOY them for a change.

Right now we eat dinner at 6:30 and then DD has a bath. When she gets out of the bath, she wants to put on pjs and go to bed. Trouble is that she isn't necessarily ready for bed yet. Tonight, for example, she went upstairs for "bed" at 7:45 but didn't fall asleep until 9:30. Which meant that after I brushed her teeth and read her a story, I was lying in bed nursing her for an hour and a half. Better than the three or more hours I used to spend doing that, but still not my idea of a relaxing evening.

So what I'd like to do is figure out some activities she can do between bath and bedtime. No tv and nothing that will energize her. Quiet, peaceful activities. Books and puzzles are my obvious choices, and she likes both of those, but reading books for over an hour could get old.

Maybe I could do 30 minutes of stories and DH could do 30 minutes...that sounds more doable...

Anybody got any better ideas? Do you think she might be able to lie in bed by herself and read/do puzzles/listen to audio stories without a parent there for some of that time? I just would really like some downtime in the evenings...

Oh, she's 27 months.

Mama to DD, my 2/24/08 BIG KID formerly known as sling baby, and DS, my 12/23/11 train-loving, wall-climbing toddler! 
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#2 of 9 Old 06-09-2010, 10:54 PM
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Puzzles and books sound like great options. At that age we could leave a couple of books in the room with Ds after we read them to him and he would read them again until he was ready to fall asleep. We could never leave puzzles in his room though because the pieces would be everywhere since they were still a great play and throw thing. He also has several stuffed animals in his bed and I would often hear him having conversations with them as he was settling himself to sleep.

Lindsay - Mum to Logan (May 3, 2007), Graysen (June 26, 2009) and welcoming somebody new in September 2011!
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#3 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 12:45 AM
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After our little one has her pre-bed bath, and we diaper and dress her, my partner takes her for a 'sleepy walk': they go over to the window and say goodnight to everything they can see outside, then back in to say goodnight to the jellyfish painted on the wall, to the Thelonious Monk poster, to the jellyfish hanging on the wall (sense a theme here?), to the glass star on the deck, to all the little things she likes. And then he stops by the bathroom (where there's another fan), and tries to rock her, but by now she wants me and so, into bed with me and I nurse her, the fan on in the bedroom for a nice whoosh, and I whisper shhh, shhh rhythmically and sometimes, remind her to close her eyes, and close my own -- and that seems to help -- and I breath on her little head and that gets her very sleepy and lately (I'm also very happy about this) she's getting into the rhythm of it and goes down so much easier. Used to be 11:30 or midnight, then around 9, and now, she's out of the bath at 7 or 7:15 and asleep at 7:30/8, which gives us this breadth of time to be hanging out together. So nice.

The bath really helps -- she's sometimes a little hyper after it, so the 'sleepy walk' is just the right transition and everything becomes calm and moves into night time.

Glad to hear it's getting better for you!
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#4 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 01:08 AM
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Sue, Mama to Fiona Aileen (2/1/09) and  Maeve Penelope (10/7/11) familybed2.gif cd.gif

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#5 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 04:18 AM
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Getting into a routine is probably the best and sticking to it regardless helps children to feel secure. Some children are not mentally tired enough to sleep well unfortunately. My daughter didn't sleep well until she was in school full time - mentally exhausted from all that learning! Maybe try some extra stimulating activities throughout the day to see if that can help,

Good luck
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#6 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 05:03 AM
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CDs of stories or gentle music work well for us. We used to sit in the kids rooms with a CD on and read our own book or laptop till they went to sleep.

Even letting them have their own books or puzzles would have kept ours up quite a while longer. In fact DD is now often reading to herself for an hour or so before she'll go to sleep if we let her.
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#7 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 07:57 AM
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Something that helps our 2 years old DS transition from awake to asleep in the bedroom (after bath/snack/daddy time) is allowing him to bring in quiet toy/objects. For some reason bringing in a dinky car, stuffed animal or other small object (sometimes it totally random - like a piece of fruit!) allows him to play quietly until he gets sleepy.

We get the stuffed animal tucked in & ready for bed. He might hold on to a toy (or fruit) until he falls asleep.

I've also been encouraging him to look at books independently after I'm done reading. I tell him to "tell me what you see" - which gives me a break, but keeps it quiet.

We also talk about our day (he is very verbal) or anything else that he wants to talk about (typically trucks & construction vehicles right now)

Some nights it takes a little longer than others, but this is what we stick to.
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#8 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 09:05 AM
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I just read a really good book:
The No Cry Sleep Solution for Infants and Preschoolers by Elizabeth Pantley

It has lots of great ideas:
relaxation stories
singing calm songs
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#9 of 9 Old 06-10-2010, 10:41 AM
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After bath time we go into his room and close the door with him. No more leaving the room. We put on diaper and jammies. We also have the lights dim and his lullaby CD playing. The room is cool and we keep everything very low key. No tickling, no playing (daddy loves to make him laugh, but it winds DS up too much). We talk about that it is bedtime and time to go night night.

Then we go to the rocking chair and DS drinks his bottle while either DH or me (we take turns) reads 3-4 books and then pray. He will finish up his bottle and then in his crib. We turn on a white noise machine and a fan for noise. Kiss goodnight and leave the room.

Sometimes he will talk a bit (20 minutes) or sing...sometimes he'll shout out (he loves to shout the alphabet)...sometimes a fuss, then a song. We don't typically go back in unless he starts crying. We are really working on not going back into the room...he can talk, sing, shout out and even a fuss here and there, but we want him to learn how to fall asleep on his own...without a bottle in his mouth or one of us rocking him to sleep.

Also...we have dinner from 6:00-6:30. We go outside to play a bit or go for a walk. We come in around 7:15 and I offer him a snack. Then upstairs by 7:30 to start his bath. Once we come inside for snack...everything is LOW KEY and we immediately start talking about that it is time for bed, time to go night night.
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