Our Toddler’s Bedtime Routine

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Does your toddler have a bedtime routine you follow?  We do and I highly recommend it to every toddler mom.  Your little one will do so much better with a set bedtime and you will feel so much better having a little bit of time each night all to yourself.  Some nights I use my time wisely by taking care of dishes, finishing laundry and cleaning … then other nights I’m so useless and binge watch TV for a couple of hours.  But it’s my choice!  

We set the foundation for easy nighttime routines months ago when we worked on sleep training our little man.  I truly believe that is what made our nights now a lot easier.

I also know that some days are better than others when it comes to a toddler’s bedtime routine.

Typically our little guy’s routine doesn’t vary much.  We found that works best for him and for us.  Now, I am not going to sit here and say we are perfect every single day.  That would be a lie.  No one can be perfect 100% of the time.  However, we strive for some consistency because without it we are a mess.

Around 7:00 each night we start off with bath time, which our little guy loves.  We ask if he’s ready for a bath and he takes off down the hall pulling off his pants and tugging at his shirt.  If we’re not fast enough, he’ll get all the way down to his diaper and then start taking it off.  We may or may not have had to clean a few mistakes down the hallway floor a couple of times.

After bath time, we go straight to getting ready for bed with getting PJ’s on, drying his hair and then story time.  Now some nights if we’re running late on bath time or he’s extra cranky then story time is super fast.  Other nights it’s a bit longer.

During story time he gets a small bottle of milk and then it’s off to bed.  We typically lay him down while he’s still awake.  That way he can put himself to sleep and we’re not trapped for 30 minutes or longer.  When we first sleep trained him months ago I started off staying in the room until he was sound asleep.  But I found that I was keeping him awake longer.  I would rub his back and the moment I switched directions or changed hands it was an excuse for him to pop right up.  It was also killing my back.  Leaning over the crib for 30 minutes or longer was just plain miserable.  So I was moving around a lot, sometimes I would make a small noise and then he would wake wide up.  It was awful.  

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I finally realized I was the problem so I started laying him down when he was still awake.  He gets a small bottle, his favorite blanket and a few soft lullabies.  Then within 10 minutes or less he would be out.  

Most nights that’s all there is to it.  He sleeps quietly until around 7:00 the next morning.  

Now, if he’s not feeling very good or has a tooth coming in then we might be up a few times during the night to cover him back up and pat his back.  It’s very rare we have to pick up up from his crib once we lay him down for the night.  We only do that if he needs a diaper change or is sick.  For the most part once he’s down for the night, he’s down for the whole night.  

We do let him sleep with a small, light blanket.  He prefers to be covered up and loves the small swaddle blankets we received during one of his baby showers.  We also have a LeapFrog My Pal Scout in his crib.  It plays music for him to fall asleep to and he likes it.  So if he wakes up in the middle of the night then he sometimes will turn the dog back on to play more music (which was super creepy the first few times he did it because I didn’t know he could turn it on and I thought it was randomly playing at 3am).

Months ago I found this white noise machine that plays all night.  Our neighbor’s driveway is right by our son’s room.  Our little guy was waking up every time their teenage boy came home late or when they left early for work.  Now with the white noise he sleeps through it.

What’s your toddler’s bedtime routine?

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