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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Nighty Night Dance

Continuing on in the little series I'm stealing from my friend Ryan at The Swans are Nesting - this week we're talking about bed time routines. Last week it was all about bath time in case you missed it.

Here were the questions Ryan posed and answered in her post:

What's your bed time routine with your kids? Does it work for you? Do you read books? How many books? Does your child ask for 500 sips of water before bed? Do you lay down with them before leaving the room? Do you sneak out of their room? Do you enjoy the routine or loathe it?

Our bedtime routine today actually looks pretty similar to what it was 2 years ago, with the addition of 2 more children and about a 30 minute extension. 

We aim to eat dinner at 6:30 most nights and as soon as plates are in the sink we start the bedtime dance. Our goal is lights out somewhere around 7:00-7:30pm for Blue Eyes, and 7:30-8:00pm for Sweet B and Squirt.

Blue Eyes is at that glorious low-maintenance stage where he doesn't need a bottle and there's no point yet in reading a book. (At least in my mind.) We brush his teeth, change his diaper, zip up jammies, hand him his lovie and give him a quick snuggle before laying him in his crib. Bam. Boom. Done. It's awesome. Takes 10 minutes tops.

While Parent 1 is engaged with Blue Eyes, Parent 2 is tackling the toddlers. The Squirt chooses his PJs, puts his clothes in the dirty hamper, changes and brushes his teeth/pees all by himself now. He's been doing this for a while...probably because he got tired of waiting on us while we were working on Sweet B. 

So Parent 2 supervises Squirt while changing Sweet B's diaper, putting on her PJs and brushing her teeth. Yes - she's back in diapers. Let's don't talk about it. 

By the time Blue Eyes is counting sheep, the toddlers are prepped for bed and choosing the books they want to read. We're a ONE book family. When the kids liked board books we indulged and read several, but now they prefer these FOREVER LONG Disney or Dr. Seuss books, so we hold the line at one. If they pick a short book I like I'll read them another one too. I'm mature like that. 

Parent 1 reads to Sweet B in her room while Parent 2 reads to Squirt on the couch (Blue Eyes and he share a room). We try to switch off which parent reads to which toddler each night. 

After book time, each child has a very particular routine. I'm not sure what B Daddy is required to do after book time, but if I'm with Sweet B we head over to her crib, where she stands on the rail and hugs me while we sway back and forth like middle schoolers at a dance. Only instead of The Goo Goo Dolls the soundtrack is  Away in a Manger. Always Away in a Manger. Always. After that there is the Big Squeeze, the Smooch, the Eskimo and the Butterfly kiss before I am allowed to lower her into her crib with accompanying monkey and blanket. There's a request for more kisses and hugs and for Daddy to come give a kiss and hug. Then I scoot out the door and throw a Good Night Brit! over my shoulder. From book to bed it's usually less than 5 minutes, but it feels like 16 years. 

If I'm with Squirt, I carry him from the couch to his room with his little monkey over my right shoulder and big monkey over my left and lower him into bed before asking what song we should sing. It's usually Away in a Manger, Jesus Loves the Little Children or Hosanna. Apparently I make Sunday school songs sound good. After singing he'll usually tell me he can't go to bed because he doesn't feel good. I'll tell him it's a good thing sleeping always helps us feel better.  He'll tell me he's thirsty so I'll trek to the kitchen for a sippy cup. He'll drain it and tell me he can't go to bed if it's dark in his room. I'll promise to leave the door open and get up to leave. He'll tell me he wants me to come check on him in a few minutes. I'll say ok. He'll ask how many minutes. I'll say 10. He'll ask how long 10 minutes is. I'll say, not too long buddy...and high tail it outta there without a backward glance. Again, this is probably a 5 minute process but I swear I come out of there with new gray hairs.

I would love to say this is something I look forward to each day, having some one-on-one time with a child, but by 7:30 I'm on hour 12 of parenting duty and in all honesty I'm ready to close the book on one more day. 

What's your routine like? And the same question - love it or loathe it?! Can't wait to hear from YOU. 


  1. The teacher in me says, "They are never too young for books." Then again, I am only dealing with one child. So, I understand, but . . . it never hurts to read to them starting very young. :) I have always read books with Grayson. Up until recently we read books in the tiny toddler bed. Something about being squished in the bed and feeling isolated from the rest of my surroundings wasn't working. We started turning the TV off and sitting on the living room floor. (Also, Brian and I have different routines. I would leave immediately after reading and it was not a problem. Brian would have to stick around and sit a while because Grayson would start crying.) Now we can read books together as a family. Then either one of us will walk him to his room and say goodnight. I really like the new routine much better and reading books with him is something I have always enjoyed.

    1. You are absolutely right Kim. They are never too young for books! We should incorporate books with Ben into our daily routine more.

  2. I actually do enjoy our nightly routine, but we only have one kid (until September anyway). We do the bath at night, so putting on pj's immediately follows that. Then we have Brayden go potty and we brush teeth, he gets a squirt of nasal spray in each nostril (poor kid has terrible allergies and snores like a train if he doesn't get this) and then we read a story from the Jesus Story Book Bible, pray with him, he gets a drink of water and lights go out as we give him one last kiss and call out "I love you!" one last time and close the door.
    Side note: I used to sing him Jesus Loves Me every night until he was almost 2, but he got to where he'd rather read the Bible and he's not a fan of my singing ;)

  3. I wish I didn't dislike the bedtime routine but, like you, the 12+ hours get loooooooong and I seek 'me' time like a bad habit. (Selfish but I chose to think of it in a similar fashion to my 5:30am runs...a time to refuel and replenish the patience and energy tanks.)
    Sounds like you're doing great and as long as everyone can get to bed without raised voices, I figure we've had a good-night! :)
    Oh - and a bible story a.l.w.a.y.s. followed by prayers (and make sure the 2 yr old gets her turn!) or the world ends. Gosh these kids crave routine.


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