By far the most questions I receive from readers of the blog are about sleep. Argh bedtime! For many it's not easy. A toddler, a floor bed and parents not prepared to sleep train or cry it out - what's the answer?
I don't have the answer but I'll share with you our bedtime routine. First some background on 19 month old Otis. He sleeps on his floor bed (most of the time) which is in the bedroom he shares with his brother (Caspar 5 yrs). We don't have a gate on any doors and all bedroom doors are left open. Most nights he doesn't sleep through the night and often comes into the main bedroom (usually sometime after midnight) and will sleep there until morning. He currently has one day time sleep which is usually 40 minutes - 1 hour. The duration and time of the day he sleeps impacts on the time he will go to sleep in the evening. Otis will sometimes take a short nap in the car while travelling and if he naps for too long he will take longer to get to sleep in the evening. I'm sure you know how it is.
Most nights our bedtime routine for both boys looks like this;
- Brush teeth
- Story time
Sometimes the kids skip a bath and sometimes there is play in between dinner and bath or bath and story time. But for most of the time the routine is as above.
I always read Caspar's stories first and he will fall asleep while I am reading or shortly after. While reading Caspar's story Otis will often listen or look through his own books. Even through there is a small bookshelf in their room each boy has a basket next to their bed for bedtime books.
After Caspar is asleep I will usually read to Otis. If Otis isn't looking sleepy sometimes we will go and do some laundry, fold clothes etc and then go back into the bedroom and read again. Usually I will feed Otis (he's still breastfeeding) and he will often move (as pictured below) from looking through his books to sitting/playing/rolling over in his bed until he falls asleep.
I have just started reading Roald Dahl to Caspar and Otis's favourite book is the new one from Mem Fox. Have you read it? Good Night, Sleep Tight is fantastic. Otis calls it the Clip Clop book after one of the nursery rhymes in it. It's a big call but I think this is Mem's best book ever. I believe she wrote it and it was published many years ago and this is an updated version teaming up with Judy Horacek (who also illustrated Where is the Green Sheep?).
Also long time readers will be happy to know that we finally solved our night light issue. Caspar would only sleep with either a strong reading light or the passage light on. We tried many combinations of night lights, changing the position of lights, turning lights off in the middle of the night but nothing was working for us. These Candela lights (which Caspar likes because he thinks they look like aliens!) have the balance right between brightness and softness, are rechargable and cool to touch. I've waited for the white versions but these seem incredibly difficult to get in Australia - these coloured shaped ones are readily available. Thank you to the subscriber who suggested these to me many months ago.