When my twins turned two, their bedtime routine changed. Suddenly it actually (mostly) worked. Dinner, bath, into bed, baboo and five books; I Love You, Little Bear had to be the last book. And then they'd stay in bed (mostly) and fall asleep. By themselves. No longer did the routine include multiple rounds of "get back in bed, it's night-time, time for sleep".
It was a bit of a revelation. I could actually accomplish something in the evenings, without having to endlessly deal with endless toddlers of endlessness.
Finn still often woke crying around 10pm, but (mostly) he'd have a drink, ask to go back to bed, then shut his eyes and say "Mmmm" when we tucked him back in bed. A revelation, I tell you.
Recently, though, I decided that it was time to remove baboo from the bedtime routine. I was touched out and fed up; I didn't want to wean them completely, but I needed to renegotiate to a level I was comfortable with.
Hubby took over the post-bath routine, in order to avoid bedtime baboo bawling. I was a little worried that we might revert to long, tearful evenings (and they might cry, too), but they quickly adapted.
Last night hubby was busy, so I tackled the routine. To my relief, there were no demands for baboo. I got them dressed, brushed their teeth, and tucked them into bed. I got out a book and sat next to Finn's bed.
"I read it!" Finn demanded. I handed him the book, and got another one.
"I read it!" he demanded again. I gave him that book, too, and he happily started to flick through the pages.
I shrugged, and moved to read by Vieve's bed. By the time I'd read one book to her, Finn had put his book down, lain back on the pillow, and adopted the glassy-eyed stare of the 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-blast-off-to-dreamland variety.
Apparently that's what he does every night. Hubby hands him a book, reads a story or two to Vieve, and Finn is done for the day. I'm a little sad that he doesn't want to be read to at night, but it fits absolutely with his independent "I do it!" personality. (Not content with using oven mitts to put an orange in the oven, he's recently put an apple in the microwave and started it cooking, turned on the kettle, and melted a foam plane wing in a warm toaster. He's inventive and persistent, a powerful combination if I can only get him to use his powers for good.)
Don't get me wrong; bedtime isn't perfect, and it usually falls apart on the nights when I most desperately need them to sleep. But it is so much easier, quicker, and more reliable than it used to be. We got there in the end!
What are your best bedtime tips?
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