It’s either the time you treasure as a mom of toddlers after a busy day, or the time you absolutely dread because your baby WILL NOT go to sleep. You are emotionally exhausted and frustrated by the time you fall into bed.
For me, it has been both.
For the last year, Annabella has been our little night owl. She would continue to come out repeatedly after we put her to bed.
But I’m happy to say, that we are pretty much back on target with our bedtime routine. We have made a few adjustments but overall, for the time being, we have found a routine that works great for us.
And allows for mommy and daddy to have some peace and quiet for awhile in the evenings.
Annabella will be 3 next month and the best thing we’ve done for her bedtime routine is keep her from taking a nap during the day. No nap means more fatigue means easier bedtime! Hallelujah!
Having 3 little ones, our life works SIGNIFICANTLY better on a routine schedule. They function much better, as does mommy.
And they know what to expect. Now, they are still toddlers and certainly do not have control over their emotions, but overall I believe this age group just functions better when they have a routine.
So, here is what our bedtime looks like.
Our Bedtime Routine
6:30 Pick up toys and straighten kids rooms. (They are responsible for helping.)
6:45 Bathtime. All three bath together still.
7:00 Time to finish picking up, help daddy drain bath water to water flowers and trees (in summer) or everyone jumps on Gavin’s bed for a few minutes (to get out that last bit of energy).
7:15 Mommy and daddy take turns putting Cruz down first (read separately to him), while the other one reads to the older two.
7:30 Say prayers, mommy tells a story and sings a song. Mommy and daddy tuck Annabella and Gavin in separate beds.
Rafael and I are a team. Be both are active in all of the bedtime activities. I usually give the kids their baths, while daddy cleans up the kitchen from dinner. However, daddy occasionally gives them their baths when mommy is finishing putting laundry away or just wants a break.
We stick to this schedule the majority of the time. Occasionally of course, there are beautiful days and we play outside a little longer, but it is a rare occasion when they are in bed past 8 o’clock.
Once in awhile one of the older two will come out needing one last snuggle, but they are easily redirected back to their beds.
No, we aren’t super-parents. And yes, we’ve had our bedtime struggles. But, we devised a plan and we stick to it.
I believe toddlers and preschoolers need a routine. It’s our job to create a good bedtime routine for them. So, how do you do that?
How to Create a Good Bedtime Routine
- Be the parent. Take ownership of your decision to establish a routine.
- Set a bed time. Ours is 7:30. Yours can be 8:30. The time doesn’t matter.
- Start your bedtime rituals about 1 hour before their bed time. Set a timer if you have to so they learn that when the bell rings, it’s time for bed.
- Be consistent. This means do it over and over and over again. Day after day after day.
- Be joyful. Let your toddlers see that this is a fun time they can look forward to.
- Stick to it. Don’t quit after a few days if it’s not running smoothly. It may take some time to make these necessary changes.
Toddlers need stability and consistency.
Honestly, so do I. And some time to myself in the evenings. Every mama of little ones needs some time to herself.
If you are struggling with establishing a bedtime routine, try this method for 2 weeks. I hope your perspective on bedtime will change from one of dread to one of enjoyment.
Do you struggle with bedtime? Are you able to count on some time during the day for yourself? Time for you to decompress and relax before you start all over the next day?
What bedtime routines have YOU developed in your family? I’d love to hear from you!