Bedtime happens twice a day in our house, and it seems that
each time has a different result. We have a lot of practice in inventing
stories, singing songs, recapping our day, and other assorted rituals. The one thing
we have found that has always worked with Lucas is to emphasize ritual and to
respect his sleep area. Our strategy is simple.
1. Start with a bath
We wanted to get Lucas used to
always feeling clean and refreshed before bedtime. From when he was born on,
our goal was for him to associate a nice warm bath with going to bed. We also
add some aromatherapy oils that claim to make the bath experience a calm one.
One never knows the truth in those claims, but since it has had no detrimental
effect, we still believe in using aromatherapy. Lucas gets to play with toys in
the bath and gets to relax in the water as he is bathed.
2. Calmly get dressed
As Lucas has gotten older, he is
taking more of an active role in picking his pajamas and getting dressed for
bed. We try to keep him calm throughout the process, and try to give him as
much control over what he wears. Hopefully, this works to help Lucas understand
that he is in charge of his own bedtime and his own comfort level.
Our next step is to blow out the
lights together as a family, and all sit together. We count to three, the
lights go out, and Lucas automatically goes to turn on his nightlight, one of
those famous “night-turtles”. As the stars light up the ceiling-sky, we begin
our story time. When we were just starting this process, we definitely sang
more songs and lullabies, but as Lucas has started talking and become
imaginative, this has turned into Mommy and Daddy making up stories. Lucas
comes up with the topic, and we tell a short story to go with that topic. On
particularly exciting days, story time usually becomes a daily recap, or a
story is wrapped around those days’ events.
Finally we have reached the point
of actually going to the bed. Since Lucas is still sleeping in a crib, we help
him go in the crib and carefully arrange his chosen stuffed animals around his
pillow. We give our last kisses and hugs to Mommy and Daddy, and then the
blanket is put under his chin (per his specification, of course). A final good night, and “buona notte”,
and we leave his room.
In using our monitor, we do watch
and listen to Lucas as he falls asleep. He does sometimes have a tendency to
get wound up and not fall asleep right away. Some of the most fun things we
hear coming out of his mouth happen at this time. Sometimes he recaps his day
to his animals, and sings them to sleep. If this exercise winds up lasting too
long, however, we go back in his room and say “That’s enough now, time for bed…”
We hear a soft “ok”, and then he is officially asleep.
In our process here, it is obvious we use a lot of rituals
to get Lucas to bed. We have never really read any books on healthy sleep or
changing his sleep habits, as our method has seemed to work for Lucas for
almost 3 years! Of course, we are blessed with a child who does love to sleep,
and can’t imagine the opposite, where he chafes at the entire process. Let us
know other methods you have used, and let us know what has worked or not worked
Labels: Bathtime, Bedtime, Relaxation, Sleeping Baby