This Bedtime Routine Helps My Children Sleep For 12 Hours Straight
If I had a euro for every time someone is amazed and shocked at the time my kids go to bed and how they stay in bed and sleep for 12 hours, I would be very rich.
I’ve also had a lot of (probably jealous) remarks about how I’m cruel for putting them to bed so early and how they are missing half the day. Putting my 3-year-old to bed at 7 and my 8-month-old to bed at 6 is not cruel and they are certainly not missing half the day. Now, in the summer months when it is brighter for longer and sunny out, I will allow them to stay up if we are at an event or a party but if they are at home doing nothing they will be in bed at their usual bedtime. They also look to go to bed at that time, they are tired after being busy and active all day.
So, this is what has worked for me for the last 3 years and how I got my kids into a bedtime routine at a very young age.
As soon as both my boys were born I tried to establish the difference between night and day feeds. Obviously, this takes them a while to learn but by the time both my boys were 2 months old they were sleeping through the night.
When they were newborns and waking for feeds at night I would keep the lights off, feed them in silence and put them back to sleep. During the day I interact with them during their feeds and when they nap I leave the curtains open so it’s bright. This helps them learn the difference between night and day.
Before they have a real “bed time” and when they are still walking at night for feeds I always put them into their cot in the room they will sleep in at night. So if they fall asleep for a nap at 7 I will act like that is their bedtime and put them down in the darkroom and when they wake for their next feed they will be fed in silence and darkness.
Another thing I did, which some people may not agree with, is giving them a bottle going to bed. When my kids were around 4 months old I started putting them in the cot at their bedtime with a bottle and they would fall asleep with the bottle. My 3 and a half-year-old still goes to bed with a bottle now but I think it is mainly habited at this stage. But it works for us!
So, right now, my eldest boy’s bedtime routine is very much established. He brushes his teeth, gets a bottle and I read him a bedtime story in bed and he is asleep within 10 minutes.
My 8 month old’s bedtime routine is quite similar. We put him into the cot with a bottle at 6 and he usually falls asleep drinking it.
We have also interlinked both their bedtime routines by giving them their bedtime snack and getting them into their PJ’s at the same time.
With my eldest’s bedtime, I have no problem leaving him up later if we are out and he can usually just go straight to sleep when we get home but if the baby stays up too late he tends to get overtired and it can be quite difficult to get him to sleep after.
Some people have said to me, “But if they go to bed at 6 and wake up at 6, why don’t you put them to bed at 9 and they will wake up at 9?”. I have no problems getting up at 6 in the morning! I am a morning person and I love to relax in the mornings and not have to rush to get ready. Also, it usually doesn’t work like that with young kids. If I leave my kids up late they will usually wake up at the same time the next morning, so really, they’re just getting less sleep.
Every parent is different, and everyone has their own routines and their own ways of doing things but this is the way I do it and it has worked for me so far.
Written by Lauren Kennedy from wonderfulandwicked.com