Bedtime Dos and Don'ts

Bedtime. It can either be a hassle or it can be easy as pie. Honestly, you make that decision yourself when you have your first child. The reason I say that, is because I have several friends and family members who are either really strict when it comes to bedtime and bedtime routines, and I have other friends and family who don't implement any sort of "bedtime" in their house? What do you guys think?

I personally think everyone in my house is happier and healthier when we ALL get enough sleep each night. And by "enough sleep" I mean roughly 10-12 hours for the boys and at least 6-8 for Jim and myself. During the week, we strive for bedtime at 7PM for Conor and Caden, and 9-9:30PM for me and Jim. Sometimes it differs, but that's the goal. On the weekends, we are a bit more lenient for ourselves, but we stick to that 7PM bedtime for C and C. 

Our bedtime routine is on point. We stick to it every night, and the boys are used to it. They love knowing what comes next. We've been consistent with the bedtime routine since the kids were born. I talked about this with my friend Shayna once and she agreed -- consistent bedtime makes for good sleepers, and happy parents!

Here's our routine, it's pretty basic. I must say that it's easier when Jim is home from work and we have four hands to tackle the bedtime prep/routine.

Prep -
Upstairs, dark and quiet/calm
Noise machine on
Humidifier on (winter months only)
Make 8 oz milk - sippy cup or bottle
Lay out 2 piles - 2 layers of clothes each and new diaper
Place blankets in crib
Sippy cups water refilled, and in crib

Routine -
Wipe down faces, heads, and hands with warm wash cloth -  winter months bath every other night 
Change diapers 
Dress in at least 2 layers  
Read 3-4 books
In cribs, say "goodnight"
Lights out, close door
Do NOT go back in

That's it! if anything, they will whimper or cry for 2-3 minutes and they are quiet. They sleep great.

The Boston Moms Blog just posted an interesting article from that caught my attention. The article sited new research that was presented last week at the Australasian conference "Sleep Down Under" -- and it found that giving kids an early bedtime, before 8:30 PM, is a key element of a happy, well-rested family. An earlier bedtime for kids means parents have more hours to focus on self-care, catch up on obligations, and spend alone time as a couple, plus they get a good night’s rest, and that makes for a more balanced life and happier adults. 

I couldn't agree with this more!

Let me just say that I agree with this for several reasons. First, your baby/toddler/child is growing at rapid speed. That alone is reason enough to exhaust him/her. Not to mention all the new things he/she is learning and taking in each day. The child is like a sponge and that is just exhausting. Also, in addition to growing and learning, let's be selfish here parents --  but after your child goes to bed, the night is yours.  The article hits the nail on the head when they say:

"[Bedtime is] when you can relax your mind and your body and focus on any last things you need to get done or just talk to your partner or read or watch a show on TV. Everyone needs that shutting-down time.”

My main and rather blunt takeaway from this is that early bedtime routines are pretty much a win-win. I do understand that some parents have to work late sometimes, but my suggestion for that is to make the mornings your family time. Enjoy a cup of coffee while watching your kids play and interact with each other (this is one of my favorite things!). I love watching the boys play by themselves, entertain themselves, and just figure things out on their own. It's so cute. 

Plus, if the kids are in bed early and you have the night to yourself, then that's when you can set up everything for the following day -- plan breakfast/meals, lay out clothes, pack your work bag for the following day, etc. You can do anything you can to make the morning go smoothly so you can have a nice, leisurely family moment before you start your day. Well rested families, are the happiest families in my opinion. Speaking of happy, don't these precious pics just melt your heart? They certainly melt mine. I am the luckiest mom in the whole world.

Sleeping pics at 4-6 months. I think Caden is on the left here, and then in the front in the next pic, then in the chevron sheets (sleepover at Grammys!), and on the left in the stroller. Daddy- thoughts?! Jim and I play this game all the time haha it's actually kind of fun to guess.

And some more sleeping pics at 1.5 years old. I'm pretty sure it goes "Conor, Caden, Conor, Caden"...and then the side by side pics are Caden left and Conor right.

This article was published at the perfect time with DST just taking place last weekend. Granted most kids are up early this time of year. Just go with it and realize everything is temporary -- almost too temporary. Life is so short, so enjoy it.



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