I firstly want to point out that I am in no way portraying myself as a sleep expert or saying that my way is best, I just wanted to share with you my routine that I have followed from when my son was born 5 years ago and we used again with our twins.
Having three young children I get quizzed a lot about how much sleep I get, people expect me to say none, that my kids don’t sleep and that they won’t go to bed.
In all honesty, I have been pretty lucky with all three of my children. They all ‘slept through’ from a young age, all go to bed with minimal messing and all sleep to an appropriate time in the morning. I wrote ‘slept through’ as people have different definitions to sleeping through, mine generally sleep 6.30pm to 6.30am and I’m happy with that!
I then thought about it and I decided it wasn’t luck. We as a family have worked bloody hard on a bedtime routine, right from when my eldest was born and we have continued it once the twins were born.
I bath my children most nights for several different reasons.
- they absolutely love bath-time,
- it relaxes them,
- they have got used to it meaning ‘bedtime’,
- they are upstairs so can go straight into their room,
From a young age, my twins have had an early bedtime (around 6pm). We would bath them, then dry and change them in their bedroom with the lights dim. All my children listen to classical music whilst they sleep, this seems to calm them. After their bath, we dry them, cuddle, play quietly and read a story with a cup of milk. We sing some songs as I put them to bed. Most nights the twins go to bed with no trouble at all. Some nights I may have to go back and forth to their room to lie them down. I try to make as little noise as possible for example no talking, give kisses but don’t pick them up. It’s not for everyone, but I do let them cry it out. Not for long, I haven’t ever had to let them cry for long at all. It’s hard to hear, on occasions I have felt bad, ran in to them and they start laughing!
My eldest will be 6 in July and to this day he has never gotten out of bed and come downstairs in an evening once he is in bed. Never! If something is wrong or he needs us, he knows to ask for us, we can hear him, but we never have any messing. Of course he will ask for one more story, one more cup of milk, one more kiss etc… I usually give in to these ‘just one more mummy’ for a little while, but he knows, once he’s in bed, he’s there until the morning!
From an early age, we made sure we kept the lights dim when feeding all three as newborns. We didn’t bring them downstairs so they soon realised it was bedtime. I always kept conservation to a minimum during the night, I would soothe and cuddle my newborn babies of course, but tried to make no noise so they got used to it being night time. Some people may see this as cruel but I gave them plenty of love I just don’t talk during the night
As they have grown up, if they would wake in the night now, I would still keep the room dark. Personally I wouldn’t bring them into my room or downstairs as it’s not a habit I would want them to get used to. Again I would soothe and cuddle my children but would try to keep the room quiet and would try not to pick them up.
We have carried on with this strict bedtime routine even now with our 5 year old. He is in bed every night at 7pm at the latest after a bath and story, even after the many ‘one more mummy!’ They grow up so fast I always say yes to the first few ‘please one more mummy’
We are pretty strict with our routine, I wouldn’t keep my children up for a party or event for example even at the weekend, they don’t sleep any later if they go to bed later and if I kept them up they would just be tired. Some people may see this as mean but this is the way we have decided to bring up our children. They have many years to stay up late, even on holiday they are in bed 6pm/7pm, it works for us.
It’s hard work but definitely worth it!
I am not staying that this is the correct way or even the best way! It’s just my way and it’s worked for my family. I hope you have found it helpful in someway.
Sleep is so important to our health and I truly believe that having my children sleep well from a young age has helped me in our day to day routine, I can think clearer and enjoy the day more.