bedtime routine // livelovesimple.com

“And now that you
don’t have to be perfect,
you can be good.”
–John Steinbeck

Well, it’s only taken me four years, but I’ve finally established a bedtime routine for my children. If you’ve read any of the “baby sleep training books” then you know how important a bedtime routine is. All of the expert advice is well and good, unless of course, it doesn’t work for you. Which was, in fact, the case for me.

My life has been such a whirlwind these last years. Bouncing from house-to-house until we finally landed here last spring. The truth is that most days were a struggle to emotionally survive, to keep my shit together without falling apart entirely. The idea of a “bedtime routine” was laughable. I was grateful to keep my children fed, clothed, and occupied.

But, even through it all, in my heart I desperately wanted to implement a routine. I know how important it is for them to have comfort and security, a steady flow of familiar activity to expect each evening. Finally, over these last weeks, we fell into a little bedtime routine that has been working beautifully.

It’s a simple routine. TV, potty, pajamas. Then they each pick one book (from a selection of six). They put their books on Roman’s bed. From there, we brush their teeth. While one is getting their teeth brushed, the other picks one toy to bring to bed. After their teeth are brushed, we all go into their bedroom and sit on Roman’s bed where I read their books.

After books, they each get into bed. I cover them up, tuck them in, give hugs & kisses. Finally, I turn on their white noise machine, say goodnight, tell them how much I love them, and close their door. It’s simple routine, but it is so peaceful & beautiful. It fills my heart with immense joy & gratitude.

For so long, there were crying and tantrums. It was just awful. I don’t know what exactly changed to allow us this routine. But I am so grateful for this welcome change.

There is a part of me that wishes that we had found this peace sooner, but then, perhaps we found it exactly when we needed to. Each night, when I close their door, I feel proud of myself. It’s so easy to criticize myself all of the time. There is a never-ending list of the things that I am “not doing well enough” running through my mind. But more and more, I am working to quiet that list and to focus on the things that I am doing right–the little victories like a peaceful bedtime routine that leaves my babies safe and warm; that leaves their mama with a full and grateful heart.

// A little list of our favorite bedtime books…
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Going to Bed Book
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Where Is Baby’s Belly Button
All of the Biscuit Board Books

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