The dreaded bedtime routine. I have to be honest, and I know it is going to upset a lot of people, but I really don't have issues with bedtime. I am a firm, firm, firm, firm--did you get that?--FIRM believer in routine. I have always tried to keep my kids on a pretty strict schedule when it comes to meals, naps, and bedtime.
Of course, we have the random
"I need a drink"
"I need to go potty"
"I wanna sleep in your bed"
issues and when those arise I just deal with that issue right then and then send them right off to bed.
The child I had the most trouble with is Gracie but that is because I kept her in the
bassinet my bed way too long. Yes, you read that right, I have co-slept with all of my children up until about 4 months. Now, I don't necessarily mean that they would go to bed with me but I had the bassinet right next to me and usually ended up having them sleep with me. I was always so worried about SIDS and not being able to hear or see them breathing. I figure that I slept better and I know they did, too. I know that it is controversial but it worked for us and I would definitely do it again.
Because I waited until she was about a year old to fully put her in her own crib, I had a good two months of crying and screaming every, single night but I stayed with it. Every night I would walk in to her room, lay her back in the bed, and walk out. Did my heart break? YES. But, it finally worked and now she goes to bed when it is time to go to bed.
With all 3 of my kids, I'm blessed to say, all I have to do is say that it is bedtime/naptime (not Kanin anymore) and they will just lay down and know that it is time to go to sleep.
If I were going to give "pointers", I'd say:
1. Be consistent . . . don't let them go to bed with you one night and then next night try to make them sleep in their own bed. (Of course this rule is meant to be broken when they are sick)
2. Stick to a routine . . . whatever you want the routine to be. Bathtime, snuggle time, bed
Read a book, play, bed
8:00 every night, etc.
I know it sounds absurd but when trying to teach our kids the routine, we literally have hurried off from restaurants, friends' houses, etc just to make sure that they were in bed at bedtime. We are more relaxed about it now that everyone understands that we might break bedtime every once in a while but when teaching them we always stuck to the routine.
3. Don't keep them in bed for you for your sake . . . does that make sense? It is so awesome to get snuggles and kisses and hugs from our babies and I think a lot of time we want to hold them in that baby stage but it is really more to fulfill our needs than theirs. There is plenty of time for snuggles during the day or maybe set aside a little extra time each night but you don't want them still sleeping in bed with you at 7 or 8, do you?
I know this sounds "too easy" and it definitely has not been. Lots of work, lots of practice, lots of tears (from them and me) but I've always kept in my mind what I wanted my goal to be:
A drama-free bedtime routine!
A drama-free bedtime routine!