Tips for a (somewhat) Stress-free Bedtime

Getting babies to sleep can be challenging. Putting toddlers down can be even worse. We turned to our Facebook followers for their favorite tips to make bedtime go as smoothly as possible.

Some admitted right away that it’s still a mystery to them.

Don’t ask me. No two kids are the same… it’s confusing!” – J.C.

Others turn to humor to make it through.

Grit and the promise of adult TV afterwards.” – M.C.

“A hard heart and ear plugs.” – H.O.

“A glass of wine helps me…just joking.” – C.J.

A few moms find (reasonably) child-led bedtimes to be the ticket.

Call it room time instead of bed time. You can do anything you want just as long as you don’t come out, bother me, and I can’t hear you. They learn when you wake up at 6:30am it’s a good idea to sleep!” – A.S.

“I have 3 under three…I literally put the two toddlers on either side of me on the couch and read ‘Good Night Good Night Construction Site’ until my eyes bleed and they fall asleep while I nurse their 6 week old sister.” – S.M.

Many swear by routines.

Routine routine routine, and not escalating if (when) they do.” – J.S.M.

“Routine and start early. I have 5 children, ages range from 8 to 18 months. Bedtime they all have the same routine and it has always been that way.” -S. & H. L.

 “Routine is very helpful. We have discovered the power of a sound machine with our 4th. He’s 19 mos now. He knows when we go in his room, turn it on, nurse and then get in our crib, it’s bedtime. I think it helps block out some noise too to keep him asleep longer. With one of my older kids I had audio stories for nap time. He didn’t have to sleep, but had to stay in bed until they were over. That’s not to say he never cries, but it’s not as long or bad. – B.M.

“Lots of snuggle time, “extended” breastfeeding, predictable routine, and a huge list of lullabies memorized.” – M.A.D.

“Make sure they get good exercise during the day, and then stick to a regular routine where each thing just automatically follows the next thing, for example: dinner, pajamas, teeth, rosary, story, bed. If there’s still an issue, sitting right outside their bedroom door reading and insisting that they stay in bed.” – S.F.

For some, a little parental research does the trick:

The book Goodnight Sleep Tight by The Sleep Lady is the best tool I have found to help with this!!” – T.C.

And for others, the advice is simple:

 Consistency.” – N.A.

“Start early.” – L.S.C.

Really, there isn’t a magic bullet to bedtime. What works for some families won’t for others. One mom summed this up particularly well:

We used to have a routine, bath, story time, blissful alone time with hubby after they were in bed, but now with the range of kiddos we have (8 kids age newborn to 17 years) and all the older ones activities, we are just lucky if any of us get to bed at a decent time. I would say, don’t sweat the small stuff — this too shall pass, and as long as you’re trying and creating a loving environment, it’s a win for all the different ways you try to get bedtime to be less chaotic. This time in our life is over in the blink of an eye (oh and wine for mom and dad at bedtime helps….) :)” -A.M.

Bedtime may feel like the end of the world but in the long run, it really isn’t. One day, when you and your spouse are empty-nesters, singing the same lullaby a dozen times may be something you miss…even just a little bit.

— CCL Staff Member