Ask the Village: What’s Your Bedtime Routine?

Sleep is a huge topic of discussion among parents. How long your baby sleeps for, whether they sleep at all, how do you get them to sleep…it’s one of the things we are most often asked about at our drop-in groups.

Last week, we asked our Villagers what their children’s bedtime routines look like, and more importantly, whether they work. Here’s what they had to say.

Consistency can help

“We’ve had a ‘routine’ since our daughter was about 9 months, and it’s always been the same since (she’s now 2.5). Snack, bath, story, bed, story…sleep! She was about 18 months before she started sleeping any longer than 2 hours at a time, but we’ve always kept the routine the same…who knows if it helped!”

“We do bath about 6.30 (every other night or so), PJs, milk for littlest, teeth, story for both and then bed. Aiming for 7.30ish but usually closer to 8! To add mine are 3.5 and 10 months.”

“Bath, nappy, eczema creams, pjs, soft lighting and music, stories, nursing. No idea if it helps or not.”

“Generally on nursery/work days, we try to do bathtime at 6.30, then PJs, milk & stories with bed about 7 for little sis (11m) and about 7.30 for big sis (3y) but sometimes ends up earlier or later depending on what’s been happening during the day. We’ve done this from a few weeks old with both, albeit the actual bedtime part was later in the first few months.

Take it as it comes

On a good day: we rely on In the Night Garden on IPlayer and Z (12 months) sits in her chair to watch it with a bottle – which she insists on holding herself. Then we clean teeth and get her changed then put her in her cot for a story and one last cuddle and kiss. And leave her bouncing up and down, and stomping around the cot like Godzilla. Listen to her laughing and chatting (god knows who she’s talking to!) through the baby monitor for a bit, and once it’s all gone quiet, I go back into her room, untangle her arms and legs from the cot bars, collect all the dummies from the floor and cover her up.

On a bad day:  Just do whatever we can to survive the screaming until she passes out from exhaustion. Maybe pace the floor, force her to watch Gardeners World (I love Monty Don) or just let her run around the house naked.”

“I’ll be back to work soon and a house move is on the horizon which will mean a nursery commute so goodness knows what will happen to the routine at that point!”

Do what works for you

“We don’t really have [a routine], apart from changing into PJs and a fresh nappy, but it could be ages after that he goes to bed. I just let him decide when he wants to go to bed unless he’s still up when we want to go up.”

“11 month old has no routine yet, as her naps are different every day depending on school run/playgroups/sibling activities. 4 and 5 year old both have a bath at 6.15pm (every other night), then a cup of milk and banana, teeth, stories and into bed for 7pm, where we do prayers and say goodnight. Sometimes they fall straight to sleep and other night’s they will be awake for quite a while. They are both early risers. Eventually, the baby will slot into that routine.

“We don’t have one really, mainly because I’m not good at sticking to a schedule. Max gets a clean happy and sleepsuit around 7pm then he feeds to sleep when he asks. We did try a routine earlier on but it just ended up with us all feeling rushed and stressed. He’s 10 months.”

To learn more about infant and toddler sleep and pick up practical tips, check out our upcoming workshops.