Tuesday, January 28, 2014

toddler bedtime routines

Routines are important for babies/toddlers. I think that's something that every new parent hears a thousand times from the moment they find out they are pregnant. I couldn't agree more! To me, routine and regularity are as important to a toddler as good nutrition and a good night's sleep- and these things seem to work together. Now, I'm not a firm believer that every single part of the day needs to be scheduled- in fact, we purposely take our boys new places and introduce them to new things as much as possible. Spontaneity can be a good thing! When it comes to bedtime, though, my boys have had pretty set routines since they were very young.

Up until very recently, our evenings looked something like this: 
  • We all eat dinner at the table around 6:30.
  • Once we are finished, the boys retreat to our bedroom for some roughhousing with Daddy. Elliot has dubbed this special Daddy-son playtime ritual "beat up time"- lol.
  • At 7:15, it was bath time for Emmett and Elliot would go shower with Daddy or occasionally tubbie with his brother. 
  • Emmett would be dressed in his PJs, with teeth and hair brushed, and tucked into bed right around 7:30. Usually he's asleep within minutes. He's never been difficult to put to sleep- even when he was younger, he would just nurse himself to sleep for a few minutes after his bath, but he stopped doing that when he was fifteen months and has been quick to get into bed ever since. 
  • Elliot usually emerged from his shower with Daddy sometime around 8, and then he would be allowed to watch a episode of one of his favorite shows while he ate his nighttime snack. Then we'd read him a book and tuck him into bed.

Since the boys are going to be sharing a room when we move into our new house in three weeks, we decided now was as good a time as ever to get them onto the same bedtime schedule/routine. After we talked about it we settled on a target bedtime of 8:30, which is an hour later than usual for Emmett and a half hour-hour earlier than usual for Elliot. We decided they would bathe together around 7:30, then once they were in their PJs, they would sit on the couch and eat a bedtime snack together (for Elliot's sake- poor child has my super fast metabolism and wakes up hungry in the middle of the night if he doesn't eat before bed) while we read them two books. Then they would get tucked into bed at the same time.

We figured getting them on the same page now would make for a much easier transition come February when in the new house- after all, they are already going to have to adjust to a new home, in a new state, with a much colder climate. Just because it may be an easier transition later, however, does not mean it will be easy now. Emmett seems to have adjusted well enough- although he's been napping earlier the last few days (I assume because he's going to bed later now). Elliot is having a harder time, though. He also seems less than thrilled about sharing a room with baby. I'm hoping that changes once the excitement of seeing the new house and his new bedroom hit, though. They're also getting new matching toddler beds so I'm sure he'll be excited about that. For now, we've been giving him extra cuddles and reassurance. I hope he warms up to the idea soon!

What are your little one's bedtime routines? If you have multiples, how did you prepare your older child to share his/her bedroom?

I didn't take any pictures specifically for this post... so instead here are some fun throwback pictures of Elliot in their crib! Which we sadly just sold, since Emmett is now sleeping like a big boy. 

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