Last week I shared the bedtime routine that we have followed since Ted was a tiny baby. I also shared that, for the most part, it’s been pretty good for us.
Our bedtime routine starts at 6pm and ends with lights out at 7pm. Check it out in detail here. Roughly, 3 out of 7 nights a week, 1 component of the routine swerves off track a little, making it trickier to reach the final destination of being in bed and going to sleep at 7 than it would be otherwise. I have to remember that I am dealing with a nearly 2 year old here.
That being said, we’ve been working with the Book Trust and their ambassador, Jo Frost (Supernanny) on their #bathbookbed campaign to try and make every single bedtime as smooth as possible.
For the last 2 weeks, we’ve been implementing Jo’s top tips to create an even more soothing, loving, intimate and stable time slot to set Ted up for the healthiest night’s sleep possible. Jo says that a toddler needs 12-14 hours of sleep in every 14 hour period, including naps, so you need to aim to put your toddler down 12 hours before they tend to wake up. We’ve done this for Ted from the start, so we’re on to a winner already.
I’ll share her tips with you, and then let you know the difference it’s made :)
Preparation is key.
Whilst I like to think I am quite prepared, I usually tend to forget things. So this has really helped our bedtime routine. I now lay out the PJ’s with the nappy, have the bottle in the Microwave ready to warm, books out ready to read, bath run and toys already in the bath. Jo’s reasoning behind this is to simply prevent any interruption to the flow of the routine.I understand, what with an 11 year old knocking about, that this isn’t always possible, so we’ve tried ways of incorporating Ted’s siblings into the routine at certain times. This has worked a treat!
We already used this time for Ted to release any excess energy he has left in his body. Splashing, playing games and shouting are frequent elements to our time together in the bath. It also signals the end of the loud play and the start of the wind down, calming time.
We get out, dry, clean our teeth and make sure that the entire upstairs, is now a relaxing, calming environment. We shut all the blinds, dim the lights and turn off all technology.
This has become one of my favourite parts of the day. Ted has his comforter ( ‘Manky Blanky’) to cuddle, a bottle of warm milk and his favourites books. Again, we already did this but one of Jo’s useful tips, that I often forget, is to alter my voice. I now change the tone and volume to be much softer. This makes so much sense to me! Another of Jo’s tips is to make up stories that incorporate your toddlers name. My stories always tend to go down the same route, regardless of where they start… toilet humour. But again, I was reminded by Jo that any stories need to be designed to wind a child down, not up.
Jo says that you should tuck them in and leave them with happy, peaceful thoughts, so one thing I’ve started doing is just asking Ted a few very simple questions about his day. E.g. “Did you have a nice time walking in the woods?” Or “Was it fun to go swimming?” Just to help him have lovely memories of his day as he settles in for the night. Then I tuck him in, whisper, “I love you, Sport” and I’m done. Well, most of the time.
So that’s what we’ve been doing, not too different from what we did originally, but I have picked up a few top tips on the way from Jo. Things that I’d forgotten or hadn’t realised.
Has it made a difference?
Well, this last week, Ted has gone down perfectly every night. And, the journey through the bedtime routine has been perfect 6 out of the 7 nights. It turns out that the simple things; keeping my voice down, making up some stories and asking Ted about his day, have made a difference.
Although we’ve always been, Bath, Book, Bed people I thought it was really useful to be reminded of the key factors in a bedtime routine. It’s easy to let things slip a little and it’s been great to re-focus. I’d highly recommend taking a look at Jo’s website and the Book Trust to get some tips on creating the perfect bedtime routine for your Little One.
What’s your current bedtime routine like? Perhaps try Jo’s tips for a couple of weeks and let me know how you get on.