One of the best things we did as new parents was follow the advice of our antenatal nursing sister who we saw on a regular basis after Maddie was born. For so many reasons…
One being that Maddie thrives on routine and she respects routine in the fact that she follows it to a tee every single night – so much so that she often tells us when she wants to go upstairs to bath which starts her winding down process for the night. Two, for our relationship and own time – we are able to enjoy time together as a couple come 8pm as well as relax and unwind on our own. The routine I particularly speak about is Maddie’s night time routine because it is the only thing that has stayed constant since she was born.
I get asked a lot of questions about how I have managed to raise a good sleeper – one that doesn’t sleep in our bed or need to be sat with or rocked to sleep. The truth is Maddie puts herself to sleep every single night and is no hassle at bedtime.
I credit this to establishing her routine from day dot and I thought I would share what works for us (and it won’t be a copy, paste solution as every child is different in their own right).
At two-and-a-half-years-old Maddie eats dinner with us early – between 5 / 5.30pm. We sit around a table and eat together as a family. After dinner we play with her – do puzzles, play tea set or Barbies all the way until 6.30 which is when we head upstairs and she gets into the bath. She loves playing in the bath and will keep herself entertained with her (very many) ducks while Brett watches her and I get her clothes out for school the next day and lay them out for Brett to change her in the morning and I also get out her pajamas for the night. Once Brett has washed her and brushed her teeth she meets me on our bed where I change her and enjoy lots of cuddles and kisses from her.
I will then dry her, rub cream on her body, put a new nappy on and put her into her pajamas and by 7pm she is being breastfeed with dim lights and this is followed by a story read by daddy (or me – depending on who she asks for).
By 7.15pm we kiss her goodnight and ‘tuck her in’ with a couple of books around her and we leave the room. The door is left open and her night lights are still on. She has always slept with soft nursery rhymes and Christian music playing. She will then sit and look and her books for sometimes 30 minutes before falling asleep hugging them tight – the girl loves her books! By 8pm she is fast asleep and I go in and put the lights off.
She enjoys consistency and although it wasn’t easy since day dot to enforce the routine – things like growth spurts, when she learnt how to stand in her cot and when we moved her to her big girl bed obviously threw a spanner in the works but we have pushed through and kept things ‘calm’ by the soothing bath, warm PJs, dim lights, soft music and never allowing her to go back downstairs to the lounge where her play area is. Anther thing I have tried to do is to keep her room as calm and soothing as possible without any toys. Only recently did we add her dollhouse and her table and chair set with a tea set.
I must add though that on the odd occasion we will break Maddie’s routine where we are going out for a family dinner or taking her to a show for example and here I will just make sure she has had a longer sleep in the afternoon to make sure she will last a little longer than she usually does in the evenings.
This routine works for us and it has always felt ‘right’ for us. Routine might look different for you and your family and that is perfectly okay. If you are struggling to establish a routine that works for you and your family then maybe our routine is worth a try otherwise I want to encourage the moms who follow me to share their routines with me so that we can all see what works for them. At the end of the day you have to trust your way and what works for you…
Thanks for reading!
This post is sponsored by Baby Dove South Africa.
Until next time…
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