How we messed up our child’s bedtime routine

Short answer: we had a second baby. If you want the long answer, read on!

Firstly I should say I like having a bedtime routine, I think it settles children down before they go to sleep and helps babies shut down for the night. Or at least that’s my excuse. Since having Evan our bedtime routine with Annie has got a tiny bit out of control. I don’t know if it’s Mum guilt or she just has us wrapped around her little finger but it just keeps getting longer and longer. If we’re both downstairs by 9pm it’s a good night and it’s all down to a little (almost) 4 year old!

The first 3 months Annie had colic, so any kind of bedtime routine was really just respite between screams. Then as she outgrew that she would have a bath, a bottle and a story before being put down to sleep. As long as she wasn’t going through one of the many teething / growth spurt induced fussy baby stages it seemed to work. As she got a bit older she could get herself back to sleep – she had music, a ladybird projector and a dummy that would sooth her. We didn’t properly sleep train but if she woke she would be laid back down in her cot and her hair would be stroked or we’d shush her or just sit in the room with her until she fell back off. Luckily she normally only woke because she lost her dummy so as long as we gave her that back she’d be out like a light. These were the glory days of 7pm – 7am sleeping with the odd wake up every now and again. Then I got pregnant.

Annie had moved into her toddler sized bed and had given up her dummy when she was 2, then a few months later I fell pregnant with Evan. This was probably a lot to go through for a toddler! She started waking in the night and asking to come into our bed – we think she was having nightmares but she couldn’t really describe to us what was wrong. The first few times we let her in but as the weeks went by and she kept waking it started to get a bit crowded (the bump was getting pretty big!). We tried a gro clock with her and it worked for a while. She enjoyed the story that came with it and understood that the stars counting down represented how long she had left to stay in her room. Then Evan was born.

Things were a bit chaotic in the early weeks, then Annie changed rooms so she could have a single bed and more space for her toys and the routine we settled into was bath, a story then she’d be cuddled to sleep. I think this came about because we were that tired early on (Evan isn’t a good sleeper!) we’d fall asleep in her room so she’s used to it now. That routine has now evolved into the following:

  1. Bath (we aim for every night but it doesn’t always happen for both children)
  2. Supper
  3. Turn on the gro clock
  4. Look at the sky (this is thanks to her favourite baby book we dug out for Evan – Wuthering Heights by Baby Lit books – if you haven’t got it, get it, it’s adorable)
  5. Sing to the stars (twinkle, twinkle, naturally)
  6. 3 stories (I’m not sure when this happened, but it’s now expected)
  7. Look at the stars from her projector (great purchase!)
  8. A chat (and she has to choose the subject)
  9. Cuddles (where she will do everything possible not to fall asleep)

It normally takes around two hours and actually when Evan goes down easily it’s not so bad because we take it in turns – his routine is just bath, bottle, burp, bed.

I know this whole post has been a bit of a moan but I actually love her having a long bedtime routine because it means we get to spend more one on one time together and that’s rare to come by when you’re working from home with two kids to look after.

I also love how much she enjoys looking at the sky, just because a book sparked her interest. She’s learned the difference between planets and stars because while we’ve been looking out of the window and singing to a star Stu told us it was actually Saturn, so she’s seen pictures of the planets and has been asking all about Earth too.

Then last week we took her to the beach to watch the sunset and we all absolutely loved it. Here are some of our sunset pics – although you might notice I missed photographing the actual sunset! And yes it took her a long time to wind down after this!

annie1 annie5 annie4 annie3 annieandbob sunsetfamily  sunset bedtime blog


  1. 1 March, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Lovely pictures. My son’s 14 now and whilst his bedtime routine isn’t along the lines f twinkle, twinkle anymore, we still as a family have a bedtime routine. Yes, once in a while it goes out the window but we are all more settled with a routine.

      2 March, 2016 / 10:38 pm

      Ahh that’s so lovely you all wind down together, sleep is always better when you’ve settled down properly.

  2. Neely (@Neelykins)
    1 March, 2016 / 7:17 pm

    I think I need a bed time routine too lol

      2 March, 2016 / 10:39 pm

      Haha me too! I try and ban myself from my phone for at least half an hour before bed but sometimes I can’t help it!

  3. 2 March, 2016 / 12:42 am

    I love bedtime routines and I think my 2.5 year old can agree. It’s our times to wind down and just relax.

      2 March, 2016 / 10:41 pm

      It’s lovely isn’t it, even when the whole day has been busy it’s so nice to sit down and cuddle up for a story.