Our Toddler Bed Time Routine
Pretty much since Day One home from the hospital, Ava has slept in her own crib in her own room and has always slept through the night. Yes, we've had some sleep regressions but I'd say we've definitely lucked out in the sleep department.
But oh-we-struggled with bed time.
Ever since I weaned Ava from breastfeeding, putting her to bed at night has taken a turn for the worse. I used to nurse her to sleep so the second that stopped, we were spending a good 2-3 hours (no exaggeration) trying to get her to fall asleep. We rocked her, we gave her warm milk, we read to her, we gave her a warm bath and nothing. Nothing seemed to help.
And then we tried a bit of a non-traditional toddler bed time routine into the mix and let me tell you, it worked wonders. We now spend far less time trying to get our little toddler to bed at night and we have fun while we're at it.
So here it is, our bed time routine:
Right around 8pm, Ava gets grumpy as ever in an instant. So we know that if we miss that time, we're in for a long night. So we typically try to start our bed time routine around 7:30pm (or earlier if we're bathing her).
1. Bath Time/Shower Time: Ava isn't the biggest fan of bath time (unless there are bubbles included) and getting her out of the bath tub isn't so easy either. So we typically shower Ava (and kill two birds with one stone so I can get a shower in myself, too) for the sake of time.
2. Game Time: We went to the dollar section at Target and got a bunch of those learning flash cards before the school year started. Each night, Ava gets to pick a deck and we do about 10-15 minutes of learning time, which she actually loves!
3. Family Band: I know most baby bed time routines are all abut peace and quiet but this part is our favorite and has worked wonders for Ava and getting her in a good enough mood to be okay with going to sleep. We get out all of her instruments and make music for about 5 minutes...and we have an absolute blast! (I'm sure you've seen some of our family band videos over on my mommy blogger Instagram) It totally sounds crazy but it works for us and we love it!
4. Reading Time: Ava gets to pick two books to read. Usually she reads one and dad reads the other. They sit on the rocking chair in the corner and read together while I lie on the floor.
5. Singing + Rocking: I turn the lights out and leave the room to get her some warm milk while dad rocks her and sings to her songs. On a good night, she gets pretty sleepy within 5-10 minutes.
6. Bed Time: When she's fast asleep or asleep enough to want to snuggle up in her bed, my husband calls me, I pick her up, hug her and kiss her and tuck her in for bed.
Of course our bed time routine isn't perfect but we love it and it's been working out great so far!