Our Bedtime Routine
We talked about sleep recently on the blog and I thought it'd be helpful if I dove deeper into our bedtime routine with the boys (3 1/2 and 22 months)... because setting a routine is everything. The boys do some much better when they know what to expect, especially when they are starting to get tired.
Last 30 min or so of playtime happens right after dinner for the boys. Then they’re off to the bathroom to clean up. We do a bath every night in our home because it establishes the start of our bedtime routine for the boys. It mellows them out and gets them cleaned up before they jump into their clean beds. I just love their fresh smell when they first get out of the bath!
We use a Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash by California baby for the boys, it’s free of harsh chemicals, is soothing, and is moisturizing. The French lavender, clary sage, and calendula scent is super calming too. Here are a few of the benefits of the calendula wash ingredients:
French Lavender has calming effects and improves sleep
Clary Sage has antibacterial properties and promotes stress relief
Calendula reduces inflammation and has skin healing properties.
We also like to use bath time to listen to relaxing jams by bands like Coldplay and Bob Marley... sometimes I'll incorporate bubbles and they love that! After they’re cleaned up they get to play together in the water before getting out. Usually one of us will sit with them while the other gets to take a shower.
After bath time we head to the family room for an evening snack. This usually consists of a yogurt cup and fruit for the boys. My fave yogurt is the Stonyfield Organic yogurt cups... and for fruits, they'll eat a variety from apples to berries to watermelon. They love this and are accustomed to the routine so they'll ask for their nighttime snack!
After snack, we usually jump into Ryan's (full size) bed for story time. Since little lion's understanding more now we've started to let him join us and listen in, but his attention span is still not quite there. He likes to interrupt us so we kick him and daddy out half way through most nights haha. We divide and conquer when it comes to putting the boys to bed… daddy takes care of Leo and I take care of Ryan.
I talked about this in my sleep blog already, but Leo tends to go down easily from daddy's arms and then into his bed. Ryan's sleep on the other hand fully depends upon his nap schedule for the day. On school days he naps so he takes longer to fall asleep at night, so we will lay together and talk about his day at school and his friends… he’ll actually open up and tell me things, forget about getting anything out of him during the day when I ask! I do cherish our time together at night but I'm also exhausted and want to pull my hair out at the same time since at that point I've been going strong with the boys since the morning! Right before we sleep, we say our prayers and turn on a lullaby to fall asleep to. On the weekends when Ryan doesn't nap both boys are sound asleep by 7:30 pm and that is a dream for mom and dad!
I should mention I'm also flexible with our bedtime routine when we are away from home. If we have plans as a family that have us out in the evening, for example, Disney days, we pack their PJs, wash them up at Disney, and they fall asleep on the ride home... or for holidays with family they’ll sleep in a little later to be able to enjoy nighttime with their cousins. I like to keep a routine as much as possible, but I also want them to be flexible and not freak out on the random nights we’re out and up past bedtime.
Having a bedtime routine can be fun and is an excellent time to bond as a family. It allows your kiddos to unwind and talk about their day. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan for your routine in case things don’t go as planned… like you're on vacay or spending a late night out with family. Final tip: let them play! The more they play and are active in the day, the better they will sleep at night. Tucker em' out haha! Your kiddos will look back on these nights and cherish them knowing that mama and dada spent time with them each night.
What’s your favorite part of your family’s bedtime routine? Let us know in comments!