Author Topic: Toddler wind down routines  (Read 45546 times)

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Offline GG

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Toddler wind down routines
« on: September 11, 2006, 13:58:14 pm »
Nothing I do seems to really help DS wind down before bedtime. We read books to him for a little while - around 15 min - and brush teeth as his wind down. He is still wound up, though. The lights in the room where he plays are low (or off, depending on how bright it is outside) and, generally, I don't keep lights on in the house if we're not using a room.  Still, it takes him over an hour sometimes to get to sleep.

I realize that it may just be his way of getting to sleep but I'd still like to try to get him more relaxed when he goes to bed.  Btw... he moves around too much if I try massage.

What sort of things do you do with your dc to help them relax and wind down?
Georgia, mom to 3 sweet babes: touchy Foti, spirited Lena & not-so-tiny Joanna




Offline Florencia

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2006, 18:36:56 pm »
Masagge is a great hit around here. As your ds, mine would get wriggly at the beggining but i read somewhere (can't remember very well where, i think it was the Johnsonn & Johnsonn's baby site) that if you use a calming lotion (there's one made out with chamomille and lavender that smells YUMMY) and start on 30 secs to 1 min sessions and over the weeks gradually increment it to 3-5 mins, that should be enough. The points lo's adore are feet, specially if you manage to make a "click" with his feet bones... that is really relaxing to them. Also on the hands, and those should be your starting poings. When he accepts it without getting wired, try behind the ears, really smoothly. IF he's OK with it, go with the back and arms till gradually he lets you do his whole body.

Another thing we implemented around 15 months was waving bye bye to things. We'd look through the windows and say night night to trees, dogs, kids on the streets, i'd take an opportunity if i saw a kid running and say: hey, that boy's rushing home cause it's time to sleep... things like that. Then I'd let him turn off some lights in the house, that's his way of saying bye bye to the kitchen, dining room, etc. We'd put some toys to bed as playtime during the day, so he's familiarized with the "going down" process.

We also play soothing music during bath time and i let the music on for his first 2 hours of sleep (we live in a really loud neighborhood so that's more a need) but recently we've introduced picking the cd he likes as part of the routine. I let him choose his pj's (among closed options), the bath towel he likes... it's like he helps me prepare his routine and we start the going down mood with it. We choose clothing for the next day, prepare diaper bag with snacks and juices and when all's set I let him have his bottle watching a cartoon (This is recently, like 2 months ago). So i'd say hour night windown lasts about an hour with a really winding part starting after bath, lasting about 15 mins. We have a short version of it for nap time (quick bye bye to things, quick putting toys down, bottle, brush teeth while listening to music and off to bed) that lasts from 5-20 mins depending on how much time i have.

HTH and that many other moms jump in this thread with different ideas so we can build a sticky with it!!!!!! come on mommies, don't be shy!
Mom to Manolo, spirited monkey and Jose Miguel, an angel cupcake

Offline GG

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2006, 20:21:14 pm »
Thanks Florencia!  As I was reading your reply I started planning things out in my head and I think the first thing I'm going to do is write down a planned wind-down routine, something that I can follow every night until he (and I) get used to it. Maybe I'll start with a warning just before we start the wind down, so at least he knows it's coming. I also like saying goodnight to things. I've done that in the past but it was only to 3-5 items (inspired by the book "Goodnight Moon", no less).

My biggest problem is dd, who's bedtime is around 7 PM but who isn't always asleep at that time. Also, an hour is a long wind down and, although it would be absolutely wonderful to spend it with ds, it may not happen.

Thank you for your suggestions! And I, too, would love to see what other people do with their toddlers.
Georgia, mom to 3 sweet babes: touchy Foti, spirited Lena & not-so-tiny Joanna




Offline Florencia

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2006, 17:40:20 pm »
Hey GG!

Just to clarify, I don't spend the whole winding down hour with him, for example the 20 mins he watches a cartoon (usually a soothing one like Caillou or Clifford) and drinks his bottle, he's in his room while I tidy the house (i work part time so i totally get lack of time to do things... you could spend that time putting Lena down). While he picks socks, pj's towel Im usually at the living room or my room (again, tyding... oh my life's so fun!) and he comes on and off showing me what he's picked. While we bye bye things, I'm usually picking up his mess or folding clothing so the time I actually spend with him without doing another thing is bath, massage, sing songs and putting down, no more than 20 mins. That could also work for you! if he's too demanding and wants me to pay attention just to him i gently remind him that I have to say good night to my things too (yes, the sheets and daddy's socks ::) he's gonna grow up thinking I enjoy that stuff LOL) and he usually understands it.

HTH and good luck!
Mom to Manolo, spirited monkey and Jose Miguel, an angel cupcake

Offline Catharine

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2006, 18:48:18 pm »
Our bedtime routine starts at 7.30-7.45pm when we go upstairs to brush dd's teeth. DH brushes her teeth while I sort her room out, get PJs and and bed ready. Then we are both in her room while she plays with DH and I attempt to change her clothes and diapers. DH gives her a kiss & hug good night and dd & I choose a book to read. I put her in her sleeping bag and start reading. If she acts up at this point, I tell her that its lights off straight away and sleepy time. That usually does the trick for us.

We read about 2-3 books depending on the time. I make it a point to have lights out by 8.30pm no matter what time we start. A little trick I use with her is to pretend that we've finished reading but let her persuade me to read one last book on the condition that it is bedtime after that. Then she lies on me and we talk for a bit about her day or what we are going to do the next day (she seems to really relax at this point), then its kiss and a hug good night before I turn off the light and close the door.

Bathtime used to be part of our routine but she started hating it and crying which hyped her up too much so we took that out. We used to lie in the dark together and say good night to all her friends, family, our friends, her toys, etc. We changed it because the books seemed more effective, though we still do it every now and then.

Buy some new books that your ds really likes, like his favourite characters or toys, or buy those with lots of colourful pictures and you can read and make some bits up as you go along.


Cheers,

Catharine





Offline imsmum

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2006, 19:28:24 pm »
Margot needs a long time in her bed to process her day even after wind-down with me and I have never been able to change that so we just start super early (6:45 with teeth, jammies, try potty, songs and/or books, then then the grande finale of Dora bandages in her crib)  and I usually leave her between 7:15 and 7:30.  She talks away to herself  until she falls asleep at 7:50 to 8:10.  Some kids just need to wind themselves down I think.

Offline Fiona (Leah & Kians Mom)

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2006, 19:58:45 pm »
think my dd needs her wind down now alone in her cot, before was 7.30 bed and sleep, now she chats for an hour and more, ended up being cranky so now dh is away i made bedtime 7.15 so at least she is asleep by 8.15 and wake up around 7, she was much better today. Started about 5 weeks ago



Offline Carmela's Mom

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2006, 12:15:21 pm »
Our routine isn't as calming as some of them posted, but I'll tell you anyway.  At 7:00 Carmela has a snack.  We're normally outside playing so she'll eat it outside.  At 7:30 it's bath time.  We come in and go straight to the bath.  She's in the bath until 7:45 or so.  She plays pretty hard in the bath.  After bath, she chooses her own pajamas (choice of two), I put her lotion on, brush her hair, etc. and then we come downstairs.  She gets sippy cup of milk and we usually color together for a few minutes.  At 8:15 we start cleaning up (8:10 if its super messy) the playroom.  Then she chooses 3 books to read.  We come on the couch and cuddle and read the 3 books.  We always end with the same Night Time Pooh book.  Then she kisses Daddy and the dog goodnight (Joey goes to bed at 8:00).  We go upstairs, brush teeth, change diaper one last time into night time diaper.  While we change diaper we go over "what did we do today".....and I tell her everything we did.  Then it's up in bed where I sing her "You are My Sunshine"  "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and then I say our prayers and tell her "night night, I love you, sleep tight, Mommy see you in the morning".  And I walk out usually about 8:30-8:40.  Most of the time she's asleep by 8:45.  If not, then 9:15 the absolute latest.



Offline Fiona (Leah & Kians Mom)

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2006, 18:49:42 pm »
Our routine changes every now and then, this is what we are on at the moment
Dinner 6pm finished around 6.30
Quiet play, usually blocks especially if dh is home. Tidy up then kisses and hugs for Daddy.
We have to put our shoes under the buggy in the hall  ::) then into her room. Vest on and nappy change and clean or cats lick with wipe ( bath/shower during day time). Then into sleeping bag sitting on the spare bed in her room, both of us have to kiss both her feet. Then we read 1 book, each book usually lasts about 3 months before she gets tired of it, we are on the hungry catepillar. She kisses each page, looks at the 5 animals on her sleeping bag and then into bed, kisses and hugs for cuddles ( teddy) dolly molly and Leah and then I go. This takes about 15 minutes in total. She then proceeds to chat for about 50 minutes to herself in the dark. We go into her room at 7.00 pm and bed at 7.15 pm since it's taking her so long to sleep, used to be sleep time at 7.30 but with an hour long chat time it was closer to 9 some nights when she fell asleep so I moved foward by 15 mins.



Offline GG

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2006, 05:27:30 am »
Wow! There are lots of lo's that take almost an hour to fall asleep!  Right now ds runs around his crib, pulls down Winnie the Pooh blankets that are on either side of the crib, plays with the 1 or 2 stuffed animals I leave in his crib (tried leaving them out one time but he still didn't sleep until an hour later) and babbles. I hope he's not still running around when he's in his toddler bed (I won't be moving him until he's at least 2 yo, unless he figures out how to jump out of his crib).

Something that's been helping is to let him do his running around/playing for about half an hour, then go in and caress his back, his hair, his belly. This has been very calming and he falls asleep within 5 min of me doing that. But he needs to get rid of that last bit of energy otherwise the caresses don't help. ::)
Georgia, mom to 3 sweet babes: touchy Foti, spirited Lena & not-so-tiny Joanna




Offline anna and adam

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2006, 13:04:03 pm »
Again all is explained! I was about to start waking him early from his nap because it takes him so long to fall asleep, not crying, just chatting, but it seems they are all doing this... Thanks.

Offline BabyBsMommy

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2007, 02:09:28 am »
For naptime, DS usually watches 15 min of a Baby Einstein video then we go upstairs, have some milk, read a story, cuddle and goes down to bed (asleep within 10 min or so) - the whole upstairs part lasts about 10 min or so.

For bedtime, again, usually watches a quieter video for 15 min or so OR we put on some quiet music while we tidy up.  Bath, say goodnight to things in his room and the sun (or moon depending on the time of year  :D), have milk while I read a 2-3 stories (always 1-2 differnent ones but we always end with the same one), prayers, snuggle and in bed.  About 15 min in his room before I put him down.  Oh and if his lovies (two teddies) have been "playing" with him before bed, we make a big deal of putting them in his crib to "wait" for him during his bath and then he gets to reunite with them in bed which makes him pretty happy!
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Offline LIATR

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2007, 11:06:27 am »
Libby is one year old. my dh does the routine when he returns from work its their time together. He finishes giving her dinner then 20 min bath (she loves it, they both do) he puts her pj's and he brings her to me for good night kiss and then he takes her to bed  - yesterday I started reading her before he took her to bed, she enjoyed it for the first time.

Offline katriona

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2007, 04:32:05 am »
we've had some variant of the same routine for quite a while now:


5.30pm dinner
6.00pm quiet play
6.20pm bath (he has a yoghurt and some milk in the bath)
6.40pm diaper, PJs, brush teeth, night-night trees outside the window, turn bathroom off lights
6.50pm two books, teething meds, drink, daddy's special story, kisses, i turn off lamp and leave; daddy prays and puts in crib in dark before leaving.
7.00pm down, hopefully asleep by 7.15pm

i must say that just recently we've had a great deal of babbling and foot thumping, followed by gradually more insistent "mammamamamas." so far it's been settled by me opening his door and letting the hall light shine in a little till he falls asleep, when i close it.

hth! would be interested to see more of others!



Offline Sarah and JT

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Re: Toddler wind down routines
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2007, 15:57:53 pm »
Things that have helped our 2 year old over the last 6 months or so:

 :) keeping a really consistent routine for bedtime (from 6pm dinner to 7:30 at the latest in bed & going to sleep
 :) skipping bath if he is wired after nursery & just getting him to bed asap
 :) constantly reminding him that he is tired and needs to go to bed & of the routine as we go through it i.e. "you are really tired coz you've had such a busy day.  you can have your milk, then I'll read you a story and then it will be time to go to sleep"
 :) Sometimes just saying firmly "its time to go sleep now"  (doesn't always work though..)
 :) saying goodnight to postman pat characters in the poster on the wall!
 :) Talking about how tired his cuddly toys are and putting them in his bed beside him & asking JT to help them to go to sleep (how cute!  he shhhhhhs them!)
 :) When JT is particularly wired, and isn't calm enough to go to sleep even after two stories, we tell him the story of his day by whispering it in his ear.  It seems to really help him to process the day and he will often stay lying down after that and chat to himself until he goes to sleep.
 :) Holding him still firmly - a last ditch attempt but sometimes when JT is really tired its like he can't stop moving - there have been times we have done this and he has fallen asleep in moments.

HOpe this is useful

Sarah