At 8:30pm exactly in our modest mid terraced house the volume starts to lower, dancing bears and rockets ships disappear from the TV and the living room lamp turns blue; this is the start of Charlie’s bedtime and a nice little routine that we’ve fallen into.
I make his final bottle of the day using our Tommy Tippee prep machine and he runs through the house from the kitchen into the lounge. At this stage he is having a lot less bottles, on a typical day he will have a round 2 or 3, sometimes more depending on how he’s feeling.
We’ve got to the stage of you ask him what he wants he says in his will say in own unique Charlie way ‘Bokkie’ and points to the windsill; dam it he knows where we keep them!!
Part of his going to bed routine is a final cuddle with Bex, he runs out of the kitchen, through the back room and launches himself at her to take his place on her lap and dives under my baymax blanket. I don’t know about Bex but I love this part, it’s almost like he’s finishing his day off and telling her how much fun he’s had.
A final squeeze from her to him, I lean in, scoop him up and kiss him on the cheek. From behind his bottle he says ‘night night’ without much promoting from either of us. Before we start climbing the stairs we ask Alexa to turn on his light ready for when we get up there.
Alexa controls a few devices in our house including the lights in the living and his room. The distinct advantage of having these lights controlled is that it re-enforces his routine. His light is also scheduled to switch off a few hours after he drifts off to sleep.
Cuddling him in my arms and talking to him about the day, the things and experiences we’ve had and what we’ve seen is all part of our routine. I suppose I want him to remember what he’s done and learn from these experiences. We climb the stairs counting them as we go, according to Charlie it’s 13 steps from the bottom to the top. I’ve never actually counted them to check!
Opening his door, moving his duvets and blankets he’s placed into his bed. I first remember when he moved into this cot bed, he looked so small and look like he’d get lost in the vast space, but now as he’s growing up he looks just right. Although he does tend to sleep right into the very corner of the bed?!
A final kiss and cuddle is shared before switching on another nightlight, this one projects stars and moons onto the ceiling and is a different colour each time. It’s in the shape of an elephant and even has 3 or 4 different soothing sounds which you can play,most nights we don’t bother with this feature, but the heartbeat one is very relaxing!! Like all his toys this elephant has a name, we call him Cosmo!
Charlie’s nursery is such a calming place and something I took great pleasure in decorating. Before it his room It was a room in our house that really wasn’t used for much. It’s been a gym of sorts, a spare room for dumping stuff in, a lodgers room and even my office. Ironically two weeks before we found out we were expecting I had just rearranged the room into a fully functioning office!
We decided together how we wanted his nursery to look and feel, from the theme of his bedding to the carpet. Charlie’s room is themed around Dumbo with other aspects of Disney thrown in. Charlie has a canvas of me and Bex from our honeymoon; we met the cast of one of the Lion King shows and this hangs above his bed.
Keeping watch over him as he sleeps is an army of teddies that sit on the bottom of his clothes rail, occasionally one of them is lucky enough to make it into his bed, he’s very picky who makes the cut!
Closing the door and descending the stairs and landing back on the sofa, we both start to relax and it sometimes feels like the whole house lets out a sigh of relief that another full day of play is over and now is the time to refuel ready for tomorrow!
We were extremely lucky of how we came to get into this nightly routine, it kind of just happened. Moving him from his Moses basket to a ‘big bed’ wasn’t something I was looking forward to truth be told, I liked knowing he was just a few feet away, but it’s all part of the journey!
Our previous bed routine saw him settling down with a bottle and falling asleep on us then once we were satisfied that he was sound asleep walking up the stairs carefully, as if carrying a live grenade, gingerly placing him in the cot and slowly backing out the room, desperately trying not to make a whisper of a sound. It wasn’t until one night when Bex said we just try one night putting him to bed whilst he was awake with a bottle and see what happens. Well we tried it and hey presto first time it worked!
Now fast forward a couple of months this is our nightly routine. I’m not saying this is an easy routine every night but on the whole it works. One of the hardest things we face as parents is a change in routine and sometimes to introduce a new routine requires a leap of faith, but what have you got to loose right?
So here’s my 4 top tips for a success bed time routine;
1). Decide on what time you time you want them to go to bed and stick to this time.
2). About an hour before bed time start to calm everything down, the music you hear, the tv they watch and even the toys they play with.
3). Prepare their room,i.e clean sheets, duvets and blankets. Have any nightlights or other sleeping aids readily available and to hand, you don’t want to put them down and them be rushing around trying to find them.
4). The first few times will be a bit strange and they may fuss and cry, but don’t go rushing in straight away. Leave it a few minutes and then go in and comfort.
Love DB X