View Full Version : What is your nighttime/bedtime routine?

09-28-2006, 03:59 AM
From when you finish dinner to when your DC is tucked into their crib/bed. What do you do?

We don't have a routine and it's really starting to bug me. It's like there is confusion and delay (okay the Thomas assimilation is complete I guess) as soon as the last person takes their last bite at the dinner table. After dinner, the boys will play while I clean up, or vice versa. Then Peyton gets ready for bed. But it's different every night. Not to say that you should follow an exact script every night with no flex but there's no rhyme or reason over here.

I wish we had an XYZ way of leading up to bedtime. Peyton stalls and dawdles like a pro. Dh has been taking over the brushing of the teeth, changing into pjs, and putting in the crib lately as I am really tired and honestly just not up to nursing him before bed. So I hide in our bedroom (not proud of it, but he's really out of sight out of mind with the nursing).

I'm usually up all night (like now) so I am just plain beat these days. Gives me plenty of time to think of these things,lol.

So what do you do? Approx one hour of playtime after dinner, then brush teeth, jammies, two books and goodnight? Is a bath part of your nightly routine? How long have you been doing what you're doing? Which part of your routine do you think is most important and helps your DC unwind the most?

Thanks in advance!

09-28-2006, 04:13 AM
O.k. well our schedule has gone to crap over the last two months (leading to a terrible amount of sleep problems) but from 6 months to a couple of months ago she had a bedtime routine that looked like this.

6:00 - 7:00 Dinner

7:00 Bath (I don't wash her with soap everyday because of her dry skin) -with half of lights on in bathroom

7:20 Dry, lotion, brush teeth -dim lighting

7:30 Diaper PJ's Kiss Dad/Baby J goodnight -dim lighting

7:35 Read three or four books with mom -by nightlight

7:45 Rock with mom while she sings/or settle into bed while mom sings after a small bit of rocking -dark

7:55 asleep

No joke it was that easy. I don't know why I stopped doing it, except that I need my happy cats upped or changed. The house is mess too.

Ack, back to you, sorry.

The sleep books I am reading all say a routine is best, but do what works for you. DD loves bathtime, so that is how I get her upstairs. I can count on one (well maybe two) hand how many times she has given me a hard time about bathtime. She has recently started fighting on getting diaper/pjs on and will not sit in my lap for stories or be rocked/sang to. This has caused issues. She didn't go to bed until 1:45am last night and tonight at 12am! Uck, I need to do something. Anyway, it helps, I recommend it highly.
Good luck!

My Waterbabies
http://lilypie.com/pic/060928/Yw0w.jpg http://b3.lilypie.com/0vphm4.png
http://lilypie.com/pic/060928/iBmU.jpg http://bf.lilypie.com/uy3Mm4.png

09-28-2006, 06:35 AM
We just altered ours about 2 weeks ago as DS was really delaying going to sleep and would yell out to us multiple times until about 9pm. So, we increase the length of it to give him more cues that it's bedtime. It has helped a ton. He might call out once, but not more than that. He's generally asleep by 8:30 now, too.

5:30 dinner and then play
7:00 into pajamas
then we come back downstairs (a key for us)
snack (yogurt, usually)
watch 1 show (Thomas or Little Einsteins)
upstairs to brush teeth
read stories - about 15 minutes worth
quiet talking - about 5 minutes
lights out

Lights out is about 8pm. It does vary a bit, since snack and shows vary in length. But, he's gone from protesting pajamas, to asking for me to take him up there. And, when the show is over, he asks to be taken up again.

I hate that TV is part of it, but it really winds him down well. We don't watch much during the day and it is working, so we're doing it!

ETA: Bath time stuff. We don't do bath as part of the routine. He doesn't always take a bath and he splashes too much for it to be part of bedtime. When he does get an evening bath, we do it about 6:30 and it is the lead-in to bedtime.

09-28-2006, 06:51 AM
Bath is not part of our bedtime routine. It would be too stressful for me b/c she still gets a bath in the tub in the kitchen sink and after dinner it is too much work to get the sink ready!! I like to give a bath when we have plenty of time, so it's during the day. Of course when I go back to work in January, I'll have to give her a bath at night.

Our schedule goes like this...
it starts around 6 PM, sometimes a little later
-eat dinner
-play (nothing too strenuous or exciting)
-upstairs to get pacifier (around 7PM)
-jammies and diaper change
-read books (10 -15 mins)
-say goodnight to all the stuffed animals around her room, turn off one light
-show her the animals in the crib that are waiting for her to join them
-turn off the other light
-walk with her in my arms for about 3 minutes while humming or singing softly
-in the crib (usually between 7:30 - 7:45)

What really signals it for her is the books and saying good night to everything. I stopped nursing her before bed a loooooong time ago for two reasons...1) someone else (i.e. dh or my mom) could put her to bed if I wasn't home 2)she would fall asleep while nursing, wake up when put in the crib and be p*ssed. Her last nursing session is anywhere between 4 PM - 5PM.

Hope this helps! I've been through the ringer (wringer?) with sleep issues, so I live in fear one day this will all just fall apart for some unknown reason, but for now, it's good!

09-28-2006, 07:15 AM
Ds is 4 but this has been our routine for the past 2+ years. Eat dinner, hang out till 9-9:30, brush teeth, use potty, upstairs (dh, ds and I) then we do Pjs, read 2 stories tuck him in, give kisses, say goodnight and close the door.

When he was nursing (till 19 months) bf'ing was just added to the upstairs' time.

We have always had it pretty easy and have always kept it very simple. baths are not part of the nightly routine mainly b/c we don't do daily baths.


09-28-2006, 07:19 AM
I am not a structrued person by nature but this is one place where structure has given us a leg up. Our bedtime routine has been in place from the beginning and I am certain that this is why we get to bed so quickly and easily. Like I said this started when Madeline was probably 8-12 old, this is when she started sleeping long periods at night, Emmy just fit right in. Now that that take a bath together it has made it lots of fun also.

The time that we start is different depending on the time of year and our daily activities but the structure never does.
Play either outside with neighbors or in the house
Bath (we do this in our bathroom b/c it has a bigger tub and the girls love to splash.
Dry, Lotion, Brush hair and teeth.
Stories 3-4
Turn on music on
Sip of water
Tuck in
out the door.
She is usually asleep within 15-30 minutes - by the time the CD is off.

The only difference with Emmy (DD #2) she gets a bottle in there somewhere, now before we do teeth b/c she finally got one.
She has the same CD as DD#1 and we only do 1 book with her, she mostly likes to chew anyway.

As I said this is the only place we have real structrure buy man has it paid off. Both girls are usually asleep by 8:30...

Good Luck, Hope it makes life easier...

Madeline and Emily's Mom
1/20/03 11/29/05

09-28-2006, 08:27 AM
This really helps me also.

My DD is 1 yo and this is our routine:

5-5:30 eat dinner
5:30-6:30 play (either outside or inside)
6:30 play upstaires w/Daddy while I get her bath ready and stuff for next day/clean up dinner (This is really the hint that its time to go to bed)
6:45 Bath/diaper/PJ (which is like WWIII right now as she does not want to lay still, but that is another story)
7:00-bottle, rock in chair, CD

She is a good sleeper and usually asleep w/in 5-10 minutes. She is very tired by 7:00.

We have been doing this routine for about 8 months, but I'm very worried about what we're going to do when I have to get rid of the night bottle. I'm not sure how to ease into another routine(ie. read a book, brush teeth, etc) (she doesn't have any teeth yet :) )

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.


09-28-2006, 08:31 AM
DD is almost 26 months.

Dinner is 5:30-6:00
6:00-6:30 DH does dishes, DD and I play quietly on the bed for "wind down time"
6:30-6:45 we all troop to the bathroom for DD's teethbrusing, washing up, and ineffective sitting on the potty. We all troop to her bedroom to change diaper and get on jammies. She hugs the dog and DH goodnight.
6:45-7:00 she nurses, I sing two songs while we rock, and she goes into her crib.
7:00-7:30 she sings and talks to her stuffed animals and then falls asleep.

We do bath 2x a week, and if it's bath night, we just start that at 6:20 and are still in the bedroom for jammies by 6:45.

mama to my cutie pie, Avery

09-28-2006, 08:51 AM
we've done this since charlie's been about 18mos, same with max since he's been eating solids

5-6p dinner
change into pjs
play with dad/watch tv/i clean up kitchen
max to bed at 7-7:30p
charlie to bed at8-8:30, 9p in summer when it's still too light for him to sleep.
before bed he goes to bathroom, we brush teeth
hop into bed, read a book or two, lights off, he plays for about 30min in the dark then falls asleep

09-28-2006, 09:36 AM
Let's see. We probably eat dinner a little later than most people, so there's not a whole lot of time between dinner and bedtime. So something like:

6:30 or 7:00 - dinner
7:30 - DD gets to roam around the downstairs while DH feeds the dogs and I clean up from dinner. Sometimes if dinner ends earlier than this and it's a nice evening we'll take a walk, or if it's cold/rainy we play for a bit with her blocks and dolls. If it's bath night (3x/week) this is when she takes her bath.
8:00 - upstairs to get ready for bed: diaper change, pajamas, face/teeth/hair. This is the real signal that it's bedtime, and the steps are always in that order.
8:15 - get a binky out of the crib, turn off the overhead light, turn on the bedside lamp that's her nightlight (it only has a 15 watt bulb in it), hit 'play' on the CD player. Then we snuggle in the rocker and she gets mama milk. I read her a story, then she runs to the top of the stairs and shouts "Daddy! Daddy read the book!" and he comes up and reads another story.
8:30 - we give her bear lovey kisses - this was something we started when she was in a major separation anxiety phase, giving her bear the power of mommy and daddy kisses to comfort her if she woke up and missed us too much. Then we tuck her in with that and her favorite blanket, tell her we love her and try to leave her room without cracking up over her fake snoring.

She's usually asleep within 10-15 minutes of this, or almost always before the CD ends. Of course, DD just started in with the delay tactics, so the last few nights haven't been so peachy...

Sarah :)

09-28-2006, 09:58 AM
DD is 27 months old. We've kept a similar routine since the beginning and DD is super easy to get to bed most nights.

6:00 Dinner
6:45 Head upstairs (I usually straighten up something or get her clothing ready for the next day while she plays or looks at books)
7:00 Bathtime (every night during summer but we're starting to move to every other night..more playtime :-))
7:30-7:40 Brush teeth, pajamas, etc.
7:40 Breathing treatment and books
7:55 Lights off and sing songs. She gets to pick 2-3 songs to sing and while one of us rocks her then we tell her it's time for the "Wheels on the Bus in Bed". She has always done well with a song as her final bedtime cue. It's changed over time and the current one is "The Wheels on The Bus" but we only do 1-2 of the traditional verses and then we go through "The Daddy on the bus says night night time" and "The Mommy on the bus says "I Love you" and sometimes she requests Mommy and Daddy say "nap, nap" time. She calls sleeping all night her "long nap". We lift her into her crib before we start singing. After that she turns on her music box (the one that was attached to her mobile as an infant", gives each of us a hug and kiss and plops down and goes to sleep.

The last 5-10 minutes seems like we cover a lot but it goes quickly and she's generally out cold by 8:10.

Mom to Susanna born 6/29/2004

09-28-2006, 08:46 PM
Thank you all so much for sharing your routines with me. I've read about a lot of routines that give baths and just wondered how many did it. I don't think it would work for us either as Peyton's skin tends to be on the dry side and he LOVES baths so I think they just get him hopped up. :)

There was a post awhile back that talked about using a timer at bedtime. I've been meaning to try that, it sounds like a good idea.

It takes fooorevvver to get him in bed. And once he's there it takes a long tim to get him to sleep. He has finally stopped waking up multiple times through the night though.

I've also read people that have been doing the same routine since their kids were babies and now they just know the cues. I'd like to get a routine going that didn't involve nursing too. I want to try something because it's like he's not even tired at night. I'm always wondering, dosen't he want to go to bed? How can he not, he plays so hard all day he's got to be tired. Sleep is something I've really struggled with with Peyton. And with the new baby coming soon, things will get shook up all over again.

Thanks again for sharing guys! You gave me some good ideas of things to do/use.

09-28-2006, 10:02 PM
DD is 17 months:
5:15 dinner (for her, not all of us)
5:45 play
6:00 bath, pj's on
6:30 watch a jack's big music show
6:50-7:00 (whenever jack is over) say goodnight, into crib, turn on aquarium, walk out. I used to rock her for 5-10 minutes but I have been phasing that out since I am planning on taking away the glider to use for the new baby (moving it out of her room, I mean). She seems to not care at all so it's going fine.

09-30-2006, 08:46 PM
I don't have a time specific routine. I generally gage how busy ds's day has been to determine when we get things going. I know they say that a consistent time is good but I found at one point if I tried to move things up that it just took longer to get ds to bed. First is dinner. Then I get him upstairs for a bath & bring baby sis. I put dd in the bouncy seat in the bathroom while I give ds a bath (pretty much every night). Then get him in pjs. I often use a baby lotion with lavendar in it on his skin to prevent excess dryness (also hoping it makes him sleepy). Then if dd needs a bath (usually I'm bathing her every 3rd night since she is an infant & does not get very dirty) ds comes in the bathroom to help. We start our routine earlier on DD bath nights. On DD bath nights I also do some infant massage while ds is by my side. Every night we all come into the master bedroom and read books & the little gal (well not so little as she's in the 95th percentile in hgt & wt)nurses. I dim our lights a bit and often dim them more and stop reading. One by one they drop off. DS typically starts asking a million questions then snuggles into the pillows and is down for the count. He usually goes to sleep by 8:30. On some very active days he is asleep by 7:30. I try to put dd in the pack n play (in my room) once she is done nursing if she is awake so that she can learn to get herself to sleep. Once ds falls asleep I move him into his bed. Usually I don't hear from him again until morning. My DH travels weekly so if he is not around I find that ds is down earlier because he gets a bit jacked up when dh comes home which often isn't until after 7.

Prior to DD our routine was pretty similar except for a while ds was nursing. After the nursing went away we just read books. Sleep wise things got better after he weaned. We did get him a big boy bed in May and that went surprisingly well. We switched our routine to his room and had success where I read to him from a chair. He was falling asleep in his own bed. Towards the end of my pregnancy we did read in my bed again since I just wasn't as comfortable in his room. Since the arrival of dd we've taken a step back. I've decided to give ds some leeway (sp??) in regards to the bedtime routine. I had a csection and he had a tough time while I was in the hospital. He was waking up saying "Momma are you here" after I got back. My goal is to get him back into his bed for our routine and progress so I'm leaving the room when he isn't quite asleep. Right now I'm doing the easy thing of getting both kids asleep as quick as possible. I feel like soon once ds has had some time to adjust then I can force the issue but now I would be wasting some energy. Overall I go with the flow schedule wise because that is what seems to work for us. I follow ds's signals. I am rigid about other things. In reading the posts here though the addition of some soothing music sounds like a great idea.

One last side note in the beg with ds I always followed a time specific routine involving bathing, nursing, & reading books and typically putting him down while awake. The routine changed when my SIl told me she had often nursed both her boys (now 9&11) to sleep. I started doing that (probably when ds was over a year) to make life easier. I found that once ds was weaned he still had the ability to get himself back to sleep if he woke up in the middle of the night. I guess my overall point is that you have to find what works for you and that may or may not be having a time specific routine. Also that routine may change as your child ages, etc.

Good Luck on finding what works for you!

09-30-2006, 09:07 PM
Okay, after dinner....

1) play with Daddy for a little while
2) Daddy takes her for a walk in his pouch and gets the mail if I haven't already
3) I nurse her as long as she wants, which seems to get longer and longer these days, sigh.
4) Daddy gives her a bath, diaper and lotion up, into her jammies, reads her a story, turns on the CD, last offer for a drink, and puts her down.

This whole process takes about 30 minutes, depending on how riled she is during the diaper and lotion up process. Sometimes she's cranky and keeps rolling around, or crawling over to grab all our toiletries, and I guess it's hard to get her dressed. I generally stay out of sight because once she latches on to my presence it's all over and we are CIO for an indefinite period.

ETA: Sorry I need to clarify. It's about 30 minutes starting from when I nurse her.

09-30-2006, 09:26 PM
Our "routine" is relatively similar to everyone else's, although the time is not exact. The thing that seems to have made the biggest difference (someone else mentioned it, too) is telling him everyone/everything that is going to sleep. Tonight, for instance, I carried him into his room and he was screaming since he was overtired (short nap). But as soon as we sat in the chair and I said, "Mommy is going night-night...Daddy is going night-night...," he got quiet. I usually spend at least five minutes going through every family member, friend, pet and inanimate object I can think of. I think the cadence of it is soothing to him. My mom babysat one night two weeks ago while DH was OOT and I was working. She had the same experience. He was screaming when she put him to bed, so she went back in and *he* actually started the process. Mom said he was completely happy and quiet when she put him down the second time.