The Bedtime Routine: This Mama Doesn’t Play

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There is nothing more important to me than sleep.

I’m not joking when I tell people: “If you mess with my sleep, I mess with you.” 

So, those around me are advised to respect my need for sleep, whenever the mood strikes.

This includes my 2-year-old. 

Of course, a new baby doesn’t respect anyone’s sleep, and that’s to be expected. We muddled through the first few months on only pockets of sleep, like most parents do. The first time I got 6 hours straight after bringing her home was magical! But, there was also the initial jolt of fear needing to know if she was okay (she was totally fine). 

When we transitioned our daughter to her own room around 7 weeks old, I knew it would be in our best interest to get some sort of routine going so she would be familiar with the things we do before we go to sleep and begin to associate specific activities, and the order in which we do them, with bedtime. Sounded like a logical plan to my sleep-deprived brain.

Oddly enough, our bedtime routine hasn’t changed that much since those early days. We’ve adapted because she’s grown and is wanting to be a bit more independent, but more or less, she knows the drill. 

Here’s how every night it looks for us:

  • 7pm: we start telling her it’s almost time for her bath (response: nooooo!). We typically allow her to watch 15 minutes of TV to wind down. 
  • 7:15pm: the bath time procession. Sometimes met with defiance, but she knows. Oh, she knows. 
  • 7:20pm: after sitting on the potty (and nothing comes out), it’s time for the bath! 
  • 7:35pm: pull her out of bath – despite initial defiance of wanting to take a bath, most nights, she doesn’t want to get out.
  • 7:40pm: with a fresh diaper and pyjamas on, it’s time to brush teeth
  • 7:45pm: two books, lights out, a couple songs, and then it’s time for sweet, sweet sleep.

Now, I don’t have a timer or clock next to me, so these times are estimates, but the order never changes. Always in bed no later than 8, with the wind down starting around 7. Trust me, it’s not always smooth, especially lately as she is embracing being two. Here are some of her latest bedtime antics not part of the routine:

  • Escaping the bathroom/bedroom vicinity completely naked and running around the house
  • Moving her step stool around in front of light switches to turn them on/off before brushing her teeth
  • Going through every.single.book in her collection to pick one.

Sigh. Toddlers.

I will say this routine has kept everyone sane – we all know what’s going to happen and know what to expect. We’ve even noticed some positive impacts of this predicable schedule. The biggest being her telling me when she’s ready to go to bed. There are downfalls, of course – it is super rare for us to be out as a family past 7pm. We’ve yet to really experience any sort of evening activity because I value the bedtime routine over anything else, ever. This isn’t realistic for a lot of people, and that’s fine, too. We’re fine with being homebodies…and I like to go to sleep pretty early, too.

I can only hope my daughter continues to follow the routine and sleep well because of it. When everyone in my house is rested, it’s a much better place to be!

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Kelly Glogovac
A St. Louis area transplant of 12 years, Kelly now considers herself at home with her husband and daughter. Having spent time in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and even Orange County, California, throughout her childhood and adolescence, Kelly and her husband are committed to putting down roots in St. Charles, Missouri to raise their (hopefully growing) family. As a full-time working mom, Kelly is focused on navigating the twists and turns of motherhood while still building her career in corporate America. When Kelly finds a spare hour of time to herself, she’s likely doing something active – running, walking, or sweating through a class at Orangetheory Fitness. Or just enjoying a glass of wine!