When it comes to night time routines for parents with young children, I cannot begin to stress the importance of this! Cling to this advice: Routines equals sanity! I had to learn it the hard way because no-one advised me strongly on this with my first-born. Being a first time mum with my first born, I felt an overwhelming flood of love for my son. I just wanted to hold him and keep him close to me all the time. The biggest mistake I feel I did with him was allowing him to sleep while breastfeeding, he became so accustomed to it that he could not fall asleep without breastfeeding. Embarrassed to say but my son, Isaiah, did not sleep through the night till he was about three years old. Wow did you breastfeed for that long? One may ask. Absolutely Not! I am not judging, but no-no, no no. No. He breastfed till 18 months. However, the older he got, the harder it was to get him into a night-time ritual. So I am a strong believer in start as you mean to go on.
Nitty gritty bit: Routines will enable you to have an organised and predictable home environment. So although, truthfully, sending my children to bed early was great for me to have some time for myself, it felt reassuring to know that it helps them feel safe and secure. So it’s a win-win for both parties (yabba dabba doo!).
My routines are altered slightly for each child. So for my eldest, Isaiah, I have established 4 important things: 1) Bath time 2) Learning time 3) Bible 4) Prayer.
Then Isabelle has 1) Bath time 2) Book 2) Prayer 3) Lullaby.
Ideally, I try to put Isabelle to bed an hour before Isaiah. However, sometimes babies as you may know are unpredictable so sometimes I just go with the flow. The main thing for me was to establish sleepy time with her and help her sleep through the night, once that was sorted I became quite flexible with her bed time but usually never past 9pm. My son on the other hand, I am strict with bed-time, mainly to teach him discipline (and show who the real boss is lol).
Also putting them to bed at different times meant I can have a one on one time with each of them. Which was absolutely crucial with Isaiah, especially with the arrival of baby Isabelle. It’s impossible to stick to a routine every single night, because sometimes we get home late. Especially Friday and Saturday evenings, we extend the bedtime to have more time with them because the weekdays can be so hectic. And I have set myself a rule that as long as I am achieving this 50% of the time, I am okay.
Now can I stress that not one size fit all (ask Cinderella’s stepsisters). What works for my family may not work for you. I would love to hear about your routines with your little one! Also if you would like to know how I got Isabelle to sleep 10 hours at night by 4 months let me know via email, Instagram or comment below.