I don’t enjoy routines. This is very inconsistent with my ‘planner’ personality. I end up always planning in order to avoid falling into the same routines. Having kids has led me to appreciate the benefits of routines, especially when traveling with children during the holiday season.
Now, if you are new to this whole parenting thing you may be wondering…What exactly is a bedtime routine? Then let me do absolutely nothing to ease your mind by telling you that it is different for everyone, so you will want to create your own based on your family’s needs. Hopefully by explaining my children’s bedtime routines I can spark some ideas for other parents out there.
Huebner Bedtime Routine Helpers:
Establish Comfort Items – Our four-year-old and two-year-old are as different as they come. Amelia (two years) picked out her own favorite stuffed animal before she was one. Jonah (four years) has never felt particularly drawn to any one item. Although he doesn’t need a stuffed animal to fall asleep at home, we always keep one in his bed because whenever he sleeps somewhere different this item reminds him of home. They also sleep with their favorite blankets. Now that we have three kids we have all three of the Parker Baby Co quilts and our kiddos won’t sleep without them
30 minute Calm Down – As the day ends so does my patience. I am ready for a clean house and some relaxation. We give our kiddos the opportunity to watch around 20 minutes of a show if they clean up their toys from the day. If they refuse (we often give them an allotted time using a timer) we skip straight to the next step – books. They each get to choose a book for us to read them. It is easy enough to carry on these pre-bedtime rituals while visiting family. Albeit we often skip the show in favor of more face time with loved ones.
Warm Water – Something about bathing in warm water is very tranquil, even if your kids play hard like mine do in the bath. They love their hooded bath towels and I am tempted to travel with them over the holidays. Due to sensitive skin issues we do not like to bathe our kids every night. In the name of keeping up a routine we opt to simply wash their hands and face with warm water on non-bath nights. We use these muslin wash clothes that are so soft and gentle on sensitive skin.
Soothing Sounds – Every child loves to hear their parent’s voice, so no matter how horrible you are at singing I recommend incorporating at least one song into the bedtime routine. Any song can be a lullaby if you sing it softly. We usually pick one song we enjoy (or are forced into Disney songs) and then use the same short lullaby before kissing each child good night. Our short ‘I Love You’ lullaby has become quite a significant sleep cue for our children. If your kiddos like to have white noise like ours I recommend using a tablet with a white noise app when traveling like "Sleep Pillow" or the Hatch Baby Sound Machine for different soothing sounds and a nightlight!
Having so many steps in a bedtime routine can seem daunting, but once your family finds their groove it can make getting those kiddos to sleep a breeze - even in beds other than their own. As my kids grow older and no longer need my assistance during bedtime I will remind them that they once begged their dad and me to use our extremely off-key voices to sing them to sleep.
I hope you all have happy holidays and happy sleepers!
For other great tips on crushing this whole parenthood thing, check out our other blog posts!
Moving? Check out From Mountains to Mole Hills by Kim.
Traveling with little ones? Check out What I Learned Traveling with 3 under 4 by Kirsten.
Our favorite travel items? Check out Friday Favorites: Travel Addition by Jessica.