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As I mentioned in my post about how I sleep trained Addie the gentle way, our bedtime routine is super important to her getting a good night’s rest. Even in the old days of not sleeping well at all, I have always been pretty adamant about establishing a routine that we could stick to. Not only does it help her wind down to sleep well, but it gives us some good quality time that I truly enjoy! This may not work for everyone, but I have found that it really works for us and that by the time I get her to laying down in her bed, she’s ready for sleep and typically goes right down for the night!
After we have a good dinner, we spend some time really playing with her. This little window between dinner and bed is my “Addie time.” I wash up the dishes and then I try to give her my full attention for the rest of her evening. We play and chase and burn off energy. We do not watch TV with her during this time. Sometimes a sporting event or something is on in the background, but it is never anything she cares to pay attention to.
Somewhere around 8:10, I sneak out and start warming up some milk for her and run her bath while her daddy plays with her some more. I check her room and make sure everything is cozy and ready for her, removing unwanted objects from her crib and making sure her spare pacifiers are there. We use Johnson’s Sleepy Time bath and lotion pretty religiously because it smells delicious and helps her relax. (I’ve been buying these big refill bottles, too!)
Once her bath is ready, I plop her in there and let her splash and play a bit! She loves these little sea critters that squirt water, especially now that she has figured out how to do it herself. After I have let her have some fun, I typically wash her up a little. In this phase of toddler-hood, I find myself washing her hair most days. She loves to run her hands through it while she is still sticky from eating, so it is kind of a necessity. Usually by this point, she is pretty much ready to get out. I put a hooded towel (we love these!) in my lap and scoop her out to dry off.
Next, it’s time for lotion, an overnight diaper (we are trying out the Huggies Overnights…my girl goes a lot at night!) and some cozy pajamas! We do any nail trimming, cleaning and hair brushing that needs to be done. I put on her Owlet (seriously a life-saver and worth every cent!) and go ahead and make sure the base station is on and ready so that I don’t forget!
We go grab her milk (currently in a Dr.Brown’s bottle, but we are about to transition to a using her Miracle 360 cups at bedtime too) and settle into our cozy rocker for some cuddles and bedtime stories! I’ll drop links to our favorites at the bottom of the post, but we absolutely always read God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers. It is the last book that I read right as her bottle is running out, and she has learned that it means sleepy time is coming. I absolutely adore this book and I am so glad that we can establish a special time of teaching her to talk to God every day.
At this point, we call in Daddy for some bedtime kisses. He gets some special snuggle time with her (which usually includes some peekaboo and her shoving her “pass” into his mouth and laughing), and I do one final check to make sure we are ready. I absolutely love watching this part of her day. The bond that she has with her daddy is a special one and I am so thankful for the man that he is to her. He was away for work a few days last week and she struggled to go to bed without this step of her routine. Kudos to you, babe, for being the best dad ever!
I switch on her nightlight (which doesn’t stay on) and turn on her white noise machine. We have taught her from literally day one to sleep with white noise and it helps her so much! Plus it gives a little grace to our creaky floors and loud-walking dog. Daddy kisses her one last time, hands her back to me, shuts off the lamp and closes the door. I cuddle her up to me and we say her prayers and then I turn off her nightlight so that her room is totally dark. I rock her and sing her a song or two and then kiss her goodnight and lay her in her crib. Most nights, since we sleep-trained her, she snuggles in and goes right to sleep! This usually all wraps up by 9pm and she typically stays in bed asleep until at least 8:30am!
Do you have a special routine with your little ones? I would love to hear it! Check out our bedtime must-haves and favorite bedtime stories below!
Our favorite bedtime stories:
- You’re My Little CuddleBug
- God Bless Our Bedtime Prayers
- Thank you, God, for Daddy
- Will You Be My Sunshine?
- Love You Forever
- Guess How Much I Love You
- I Love You More Each Day
- I Prayed For You
- Take Heart My Child
- The Beginner’s Bible (We do this more in the afternoons/naptime but sometimes we do Bible at bed, too! This is a great little Bible.)