Co-sleeping families: Please tell me your bedtime routines!(28 Posts)
DS is nearly 18 months old, we co-sleep (cot in sidecar arrangement) and bf to sleep. The last few days his sleep has gone up the spout and we're struggling to establish a bedtime routine. To date the routine has been roughly:
630 into pjs in living room then play
7 read books
730 to bed.
He is now refusing bed and we can't settle him till 930ish!
Any advice/experiences on routines would be great. I have asked particularly for co-sleepers' input as DS doesn't have a 'bedroom' as such to wind him down in.
Does he sleep in your room? Can you do the post-bath wind down there?
Yes he sleeps in our room. We could, but it would mean spending over an hour in our room, where there isn't much room. Plus, he seems to need a last play period before books. It just seems easier to do the routine in the living room but maybe that's part of the problem!
I would remove the downstairs bit - going 'up for bath and bed' becomes the start of going to bed and going to sleep. PJs on upstairs immediately before reading then bed.
I'd make bath later to fit in with this.
Half an hour for reading is a long time for a toddler, it strikes me as procrastination. A ten minute story and cuddle would sustain better engagement and interest in the book.
Bath and bedtime takes an hour in our house. If aiming for a 7.30 bedtime, it would be:
6.30pm upstairs for "Bath and Bedtime".
Undressed, run bath, choose book together, lay out PJs on bed (your bed or his bed when older)
7.15pm Out of bath, get dry and PJs on (done in your bedroom or his bedroom when older)
7.20pm Story (in your bedroom or his bedroom when older)
7.30pm breastfeed and bed
How many naps and at what time does he have? It could be that you might have to shorten or discourage too much day time napping.
DD's bedtime routine went to pot at 18mo, we don't cosleep at the beginning of the night so I don't have any specific advice but we were having hours of hysterical screaming.
The HV advice was stop trying to go back to what we did previously, we had to give up on that. Make a new routine. So for us, we took the side off the cot and moved her bottle to downstairs before bath.
We also moved it all slightly later so she was more tired. So now it is:
8.00 story / bed
The bath should only be about 10-15 mins but then DD runs about naked for ages and we have to force her into a nappy!
FATE I did wonder if we were doing bath etc too early. One problem we have is we live in an open plan flat on one floor so it's really hard to separate our room for nighttime/sleeping only and it just seems easier to stay in the main living area. I suppose we had lots of reading just to pass the time.
Dyslexic he used to have 1 nap, roughly 1230-2/230 but just lately it's been more like 230-330 (maybe because he's been sleeping in later).
trilby, do you try to keep the time leading up to the routine (up to 715) as quiet time? Not sure whether to go for quiet or if they need active time to let off steam before bed.
Although we don't always cosleep we have had this problem with ds with later naps. It's a real hassle. At 26 months it's still a problem unless he goes without a nap. I remember posting a similar question - it's basically the transition to dropping the nap. We would drop it completely but after 3 days without a nap he wakes up for hours at night! So we mostly do alternate day naps!
We eat 6-6.30ish then go with what she wants - if she is tired, it tends to be quiet time, playing with Happyland, reading etc. If she is up for messing about though we figure she must have the energy and it is better to use it up!
By the time she has had a bath, and a story, and we've said goodnight to the sun on the grocclock, I think she has had enough winding down time. We are trying to reinforce that it is okay to lie in bed awake, and seem to be making progress, she doesn't automatically try and sit up all the time now.
Ok, thanks Trilby.
Andcake I thought DS was too young to drop his nap but he did drop his late afternoon nap very early on so maybe this is all related to him transitioning to no naps at all.
He had just been mental this evening! Is now finally asleep but not until after 40 mins of messing about on the bed (pretending to fall over dramatically and babbling) and before that, bombing around the flat with his trolley. It has been impossible to calm him down. Is this normal?!
What time do you get up with him in the morning?
Our bedtimes are on the basis that our household gets up between 7.00am-7.30am. If you get up much later than that then maybe either a later bedtime or earlier get up time is in order?
We used to get up about 730-8 which is when DS would wake. However, since the late nights he doesn't get up until about 9. (Am SAHM).
I have a 19 month old (who ends up in the bed with us at some point). Our routine is:
Story if she wants one
Bed about 8.45
She still has a nap but she has to be awake by 3.30pm
Thanks remember, what time does she wake in the morning?
How long is the nap - can you shorten it?
At 17-19 months we transitioned ds to his room with stair gate on door, a normal single bed and bed rail ( also a proper black out blind) I stay with him til he is asleep and if he wakes go in and co sleep in the single but mostly he sleeps through
I also make sure he doesn't fall asleep attached to me but I'm nearby. Obviously this can be annoying if he won't go to sleep until late.
Personally I think it's a nap thing and got v little to do with routine. You could try getting them up earlier ( didn't work for us) some kids have dropped naps by 2 or can nap late or for hours and still be asleep by 7 - my ds NO!
I have just thought of something else - tv. We used to have the bedtime hour on from 6-7 but now it totally fucks up bedtime if she watches any tv after mid afternoon. In fact, the more tv she watches, the worse her behaviour is.
It is terrible, we love tv, DH refers to it as "his friend in the corner" and now we can't use it!
Andcake his nap is usually 1.5-2hrs but so far today he's refused to nap at all! Doubt he'll make it to bedtime without a nap though, which will probably mean another late night.
Trilby I am wondering about tv now. The only tv DS watches in the afternoon is before dinner (about 5) and is a recorded ITNG. We are in the same boat as we can't have tv on in the evenings now as DS is still up and DH is getting withdrawal symptoms from his NCIS repeats! Maybe we need to cut all afternoon tv then??
Can you try keeping him up with no nap then see how he sleeps tonight! Earlier bedtime maybe 6.30- we did thus for a while.
My DD is 2yo and rarely has a daytime nap now. She has her dinner around 4.30-5 then plays for a while, if im at work she eats at the childminder and then picked up and home by 5, bath time is at 5.30-6 then pjs and a book followed by bf at 6-6.30 and asleep in our bed by 7 at the latest. She still wakes once or twice during the night but easily settles and is generally up for the day at 6ish
Yes cake still no nap so going to try dinner at 515, bath 545ish and feed in bed at 630 or no later than 7. Wish me luck!
Thanks Madame, do you go straight to your bedroom after bath to get ready and stay there? As we go back into living area after bath which might not be the best thing.
We were having similar problems with ds2 (21 months) but we moved everything earlier and stopped him napping in the afternoon. Our routine now goes like this:
7.15am wake up
No later than 10.15am nap for about an hour and a half
5.30 pm dinner
6 pm pyjamas and story
6.15 pm bed (asleep by 6.30 pm all things being well!)
It really has made a huge difference and retrospectively we were able to identify a lot of the crazy, manic, 'naughty' behaviour as just over-tiredness. It's almost impossible to over state how important that part had been for us as a co-sleeping family.
Oh and the old adage 'sleep begets sleep' is true as long as you are able to recognise its limitations! So it's certainly true that an over tired baby is almost impossible to get to sleep, but the timing of the naps, and in a way 'protecting' the tiredness when it does come is the most important bit.
Not sure if I'm expressing that very well!
Yes goodnight straight up to the bedroom for pjs and story time, I definitely think that helps define it as bedtime. I guess that's a bit more difficult if there's no 'upstairs to bed' though
I wouldn't drop his nap at 18 months. My 3 1/2 year old still naps 2hrs daily.
I would also stop feeds associating with bed.
So here at 18 months it was:
8.15pm breastfeed on sofa
8.30pm bath/ pjs/ into bed and then story.
Story only ready once they were in bed, laying down under duvet, with lights dimmed. So last thing before sleep.
At 18months with ds1 we already had ds2 3 months. So did same routine with both, then after story kissed eldest goodnight, and brought ds2 into living room until we went up.
They sleep until 8/9am now, more like 9am at 18months
At 18 months we moved ds into a toddler bed with side rail, stair gate on door. Routine was:
7.30 pjs and play in room
7.45 books and breastfeed
Then he would come in to bed with us at around midnight when he woke up.
Now have a 12 month old co sleeper and her routine is:
6.45 in bath
7.00 out of bath and in pjs
1 story and breastfeed to sleep on lap on sofa, asleep by 7.30, comes up with us when we go.
Would agree with no tv after dinner certainly, maybe a cut off point at 4ish, and no extended play after bath.
The thing we've found best since having two to coordinate, is keeping each schedule to no more to an hour. This has made a huge difference in the last couple of months, we used to faff about a lot more, they have both been going to sleep like clockwork since we made the timings tighter.
At 12 months I can't let dd sleep past 3.30-4 in the day, I imagine at 18 months that would be more like 3. I think a good rule I've found is 4 hours between last nap and bedtime. Less than that and you struggle, more than that likewise.
Join the discussion
Please login first.