The 7:00pm Magic Hour – Our Bedtime Routine

So I had a reader request come in last week to share a bit more about our nightly bedtime routine – and pretty much asking how we get the two littles down to bed at 7:00pm every night.

Let me start by saying, its magic.

And my magic, I mean the magic hour.

more play

What we do obviously won’t work for everyone. I stay at home with the kids all day and to be honest, by 7:00pm I’M DONE.

I’m done physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – D O N E

I’ve given it all. They’ve taken it all. I’m officially tapping out.

raise it up

A major reason I’m so done is because we are out and about all day, everyday.

I can’t sit at home with the littles – we have to be outdoors, exploring, checking out the city, hitting up museums – I like to keep moving. That’s just me – if we stay at home all day, I’d be bored, they’d be bored. We’d likely kill each other.

I’ve sort of created a monster in the face that Brooks wakes up most mornings and asks “Mommy, what are we doing today” because I’m his little cruise director that plans entertainment for him constantly. #facepalm

BUT the good thing is that the fact that we are always on the go everyday, by 7:00pm – not only am I tired, the kids are tired too. Winning!

broossss

I’ve read somewhere, I can’t remember where for the life of me, because I’ve been searching for it to link here, but that young kids are ready for bed and between 6:30 – 7:00 their bodies release something {forgive my severe lack of scientific terms here} that helps them go into a deep sleep quicker around that time. May sound crazy, but I’ve found it 100% true with my two littles. They are both ready for and wanting bed by 7:00pm. Some days if they don’t nap well I’ve even put them down as early as 6:15-6:30pm – we keep them up until 7:00 to be able to spend a little time with dad.

With Brooks, since we were new parents and didn’t know what we were doing – we put him on a schedule a little later. Also, with one it was a tad bit easier to be more flexible since there’s only one. With Graham, I was a little more knowledgeable and comfortable with the whole schedule thing – around 4/5 months we started the 7:00pm bedtime routine and it’s been going great ever since. It was a little touch and go at first since I didn’t want one waking up the other, but that was never an issue for us, knock on wood.

jams

Here’s how it all goes down: We usually do dinner around 5:00pm – Graham is hungry by then – he doesn’t miss a meal – so I start with some ‘appetizers’ for him and prep the rest of dinner while Brooks gets to watch a 20 minute show. Brooks usually joins the dinner train around 5:30pm. Depending on what we are eating and if I’m hungry I may eat with the boys or will wait to eat with Charles. Every day is different.

Graham usually eats for a solid hour – I am constantly giving him different things to eat and play with – he’s a great eater and loves a variety of foods. In his defense as well, lunch at our house is always light so by dinner both boys are a little hANGRY and ready for some eats – which works in my favor in getting them to clean their plates!

eats

Charles gets home around 6:15pm and I aim to have the boys done with dinner and cleaned up by then. Usually thats the case, but sometimes we are running a little late and dad gets to enjoy the dinner mess. Sometimes this includes a baby bath in the kitchen sink.

tub

Dad takes over when he gets home and I clean up the boys’ dinner disasters and do a few other crazy things around the house. Sometimes I take Jackson out for a walk, water the plants, pick up everything from the day. On these crazy hot days  I also try to sneak in a quick shower while Charles is playing with the boys – they deserve some time alone and I deserve a quick shower! And by quick I mean QUICK!

I’m downstairs and ready to get the boys to bed with Charles by 6:45pm – we both take a little and change them and get them ready for bed. Brooks has a little extra time getting ready because we try to do a visit to the potty, brush teeth and all that jazz.

play

Charles takes Brooks in his room – they usually play for a few minutes before reading a few stories together and then it’s lights out. I should add that last week Brooks chewed through his last pacifier, which I had to cut down, and ever since then he’s been re-learning how to put himself to sleep without it. He hasn’t cried. Hasn’t asked for a new one. Hasn’t really said anything about it – except “my wuba broke mommy” and I say ” you chewed it and I had to cut it to be safe” and he says “its fixed?” – he still holds onto it, but no more pacifier sucking. I thought that was going to be a major issue, but he didn’t phase him. Other than him rolling around in his crib a little more, it’s lights out at 7:00pm for Brooks.

When Charles takes Brooks, I take Graham in his room. He is still nursing 4 times a day – I plan to introduce milk soon, so we shall see how that affects things, but usually Graham nurses at 7:00pm and either nurses to sleep and I put him in his crib or finishes nursing, is antsy, I put him down in his crib and he gets himself down.

I think it’s a combination of the fact that we have good sleepers and the fact that we have a strict routine that we stick to day and in day out. Sometimes the boys might have a late nap, or not seem tired or be so crazy running around that anyone around them might think there is no way they are going to bed at 7:00

But guess, what – they are!

We put them down the same time every night, and they are ready for it. They expect it. They want it. They need it.

They need to rest. They are happier when they have a good sleep. They get a good sleep when they go to bed earlier and they have better days the next day when they are well rested.

This is what works for us. I love giving my all during the 12 hours they are awake and knowing that at 7:00pm I get some time to myself – to blog, to work my Stella + Dot business, to have a glass of wine, to relax with the hubs – it’s amazing to be able to look forward to that and to have that time.

And most days the boys get up between 6:45 – 7:30am

#proof

714

Anything after 6:00am is fine with me when they are asleep in bed by 7:00pm.

Brooks is 100% consistant {knock on wood}, even with giving up his pacifier, he’s been a champ. He’s still in his crib and I know when he grows out of that, things might change a bit, but until then – I’m enjoying his schedule!

Graham is a little less consistent but only by a tiny bit. He has other issues – like teething – that sometimes affects him going down smoothly every night. But it’s usually only for 30 minutes or so that I have to nurse him longer or sometimes rock him a bit – but if he doesn’t immediately fall asleep nursing, he prefers putting himself down – he pushes me away when he’s done with me – ha! And I’m all for him getting himself to sleep too!

momlife

I think you have to pick a time that works best for your family and stick with it. May seem a little crazy, may be a tough week, but I really think that if you are consistent day after day for a week or so at most, your little will follow along. I get keeping your kid up later if you work! Charles misses out a bit since he only gets a short time with them in the evening, but he knows they are happier during the day when they get their sleep early at night, and he’s good with that.

Yes, I’m that crazy person that will leave a party early to put my kids to bed. But guess what – I’m ok with that too and I relish in clocking out at 7:00pm every night!

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Now it’s your turn to share ->

what’s your bedtime rouine with the littles look like?

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10 Comments

  • Reply Krista K July 26, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I love this. You are doing an awesome job getting your kiddos the sleep they need. When I hear parents of young kids say “they’re night owls”, and then they put them to bed at 11, I just cringe so hard inside. They may become night owls when they get (way) older, but little children need any early bedtime. I am religious about this like you, although bedtime has gotten later (7:30/8) for my three-year-old (and I miss the quiet house we used to have by that time!). Keep up the good work!!

  • Reply Lauren July 26, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Our bedtime philosophies are very similar. My almost 2 and a half year old has had a 7:15 bedtime since she turned 1. We’re on the go most days also, so she’s ready for bed by that time. I also enjoy the down time I get at night so I can workout, read, or just veg out on the couch. I’ll be interested to see what happens when we make the leap to a toddler bed.

    • Reply Leslie July 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Yes, Im a little nervous for when he’s out of the crib but we shall see! I’ll keep you posted!

  • Reply Lindsay July 26, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Similarly, we have been very strict with bedtime for our 2.5 year old since around 3 months. However, it has pushed back later in recent months. It was 6:30 pm for awhile when he first dropped his 2nd nap, then 7 pm, and now it is 7:45 pm. I think it is mostly because of my schedule and the weather, too, that it has pushed back – I work full-time, and get him from daycare around 5:30 pm. Once I pick him up, we walk to the playground, or play outside with neighbors, so dinner isn’t happening until close to 6:30 pm. Then it is bath time, books, bed. I miss the earlier bedtime routine, but this seems to be working well for him and gives us more time to play, which I think is important.

  • Reply Tara July 26, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I work in an office with 4 coworkers and myself who all have a 2 year olds. Ironically we were all just talking the other day about the need for our little ones to sleep! The one coworker travels frequently and had to fly with his toddler. He told us about the dramatic meltdown his son had at the airport all because of one day of lack of sleep. I shared my story about my son who usually goes to bed between 8/830 but when we transitioned him to a toddler bed he didn’t hit the pillow until 11pm some nights! The next day at daycare I got a report of him hitting, kicking, and even had a bite attempt! It was like starting all over getting him in a bedtime routine but with consistency it worked. Point being, sleep is a critical part of a toddler’s development and by having a set bedtime it makes the days go that much easier for both you and them. You’re doing a great thing momma! Keep up the routine and teaching them good habits, they will turn out all the better for it! 🙂

  • Reply Lauren July 26, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Thank you so much for sharing. My babes are close in age like yours, 7 months and 2 years. So it’s helpful to see what works for others. We have a pretty good routine but where I struggle is when it’s just me to put the kids to bed on nights when my husband has to work late or is traveling. How do you adjust if you are by yourself? Thanks again!

    • Reply Leslie July 26, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      Hey Lauren,
      If I’m flying solo I do all the same things – except I put Brooks down first. I read him a story, with Graham in the room. Say goodnights, and then put him in his bed and take G to his room to do our thing. I usually have to put B down a few minutes early since Graham won’t last as late but he’s always been fine with it! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply Ani July 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Amen! We do PJs at 6:30 and the little (21mo old) is in bed by 6:45. Maybe closer to 7 if he had a late nap. But he wipes himself out with all of the running, climbing and playing he does all day. On no nap days we also do an early 6:15 bedtime. He sleeps until 6-630 am. You’re doing great with 2littles!

  • Reply Nicole July 27, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I think this is fantastic! This year Nick’s bedtime creeped back a bit but we have found 8:30 to work very well for us. He still takes a 3 hour nap – every single day (from 1-4) in his bed at home and I think that is just as important! I’m starting to think about when the second little guy is born in October. Yikes!!

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