Since Erin was born I think we have been very lucky with sleep and bedtime. Erin has always slept quite a lot and it used to be a running joke at our local Baby Sensory class and baby yoga class because Erin could never stay awake for the whole class! At nearly 3, Erin is still having nearly 3 hour naps most days (unless she’s at nursery) and she very rarely wakes up throughout the night. Of course, we have had periods of tougher times in the past through teething and illness but now, I like to think that we have bedtime down. Most days we have no hassle whatsoever and Erin goes to bed quite happily.
Obviously, different things work for different babies and children but for as long as I can remember we have had a pretty nice bedtime routine so I thought I would share some tips with you today.
Babies and children love routine and they soon come to expect certain things to happen. Even when we’re away or on holiday we try to stick to our routine as closely as possible but obviously this can’t be done 100% of the time. If we’re not able to give Erin a bath, because there isn’t one, we’ll try a shower and we always make sure we take books with us so we can have a story right before bed.
It’s important to keep an eye on your child’s behaviour for tell tale signs that they are getting tired. Erin’s bedtime can actually vary by day depending on what we have been doing/ if she naps during the day so we can’t rely on a regular bedtime. The minute that Erin starts to get ratty or irritable we start our bedtime routine. By not letting her get too overtired, we save ourselves from horrible tantrums and meltdowns… most of the time!
Make it fun
Bedtime doesn’t have to be boring and overly strict. Our routine starts with a bath that could last anywhere from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. John usually does the bath with Erin and they have lots of play time and fun in the mix of hair washing and getting clean. When Erin was a baby she would scream so much the neighbours wondered what was wrong every single day at bath time. Since then, we have tried to make bath time as enjoyable as possible.
Of course, there are ways to make bedtime fun without making it too energetic. After Erin’s bath now we watch an episode of In The Night Garden and this gives her a bit of time to calm down ready for bed.
While we watch In The Night Garden Erin and I snuggle up on the couch with a fluffy throw and have a snuggle. I also make sure Erin’s pyjamas are soft, well fitting and something that she likes to wear. We have just bought some new ones from Next and they always wash so well and are super soft. I also make sure that Erin’s bed is a comfortable place for her to sleep. She has a lovely pillow and either a pretty blanket in summer or thick duvet in winter.
These are just some of the things we do to keep Erin’s bedtime as smooth and stress-free as possible. I’d love to hear if you have any other tips though!