Establishing a daily toddler sleep routine has certainly taken us a while, and our sleep journey involved plenty of tears and protests. However, after sticking to the same actions, and time frames, and having a whole lot of patience, we now have a fairly consistent sleep routine in place. Following this routine has resulted in less resistance and provides the reassurance our two year old toddler benefits from at this age*. The NHS also recommends a calming, predictable bedtime routine that happens at the same time and includes the same things every night for under-5s† . Therefore, I thought I would share with you our daily night time routine, in the hope that it is advantageous for other parents having difficulty establishing a sleep routine.
6.00pm – Bath time
After dinner, my toddler heads straight for her bath. I fill the tub with warm water at the ideal temperature after checking our thermometer, I then add either some bath bubbles with our baby wash or a Lush bath bomb – this lavender one is fantastic for relaxation before bedtime and is her favourite.
I also have various water toys, our toddler loves to play with, particularly these bath toy cups. During this time we also wash and condition her hair and brush her teeth with kids’ toothpaste and her bamboo brush.
Her bath ranges anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. At the end, I usually ask her if she is ready to get out, then I grab a large hooded fluffy towel and dry her off.
6.30pm – PJs, Creams & Lotions
Whilst the bath usually has a calming effect, if she is still quite active, I also give her a baby massage with the baby lotion, which tends to settle her. This is a lovely bonding time, and I usually ask about her day and what she would like to do tomorrow.
I also dress her in a Bonds Wondersuit, the short sleeve and leg version in summer and long sleeve version in winter, I find these are great as they quickly zip up (no buttons!) and keep their colour and shape in the wash.
6.45pm – Books & Story Time
We read about 5-8 books, depending on how tired she is. We start off with the Cheeky Monkey Hand Puppet book, which is really interactive and so much fun. Our favourite at the moment is Australian classic The Magic Beach and we also love The Snow Wombat.
Other favourites include, London, Guess How Much I love You, and A Little Stuck, the list is endless. I have a book corner next to her bed with a book display stand, which has selection of books I change every couple of days with new books from her book shelf.
7.00 – 7.15pm – Bottle & Bed
We end the day with a warm bottle of milk before we tuck her into bed. This may be controversial as I understand that not many 2 year olds have a bottle before sleep time, however it works for us. Eventually we will phase this out also. The warm milk helps her drift off, I kiss her good night and then slowly exit the room. After about 15 minutes I go back in and retrieve the bottle so it doesn’t interfere with her sleep during the night. She then usually wakes up again anytime between 6.00am to 7.00am in the morning and we start the day. We also have 45 minute to 1 hour nap during the day as well which contributes to her overall sleep within a 24 hour period. The table below is a great guide for indicating how much sleep children need in a 24 hour period:
I would love to learn about your sleep time routines too, or if you have any questions for me, do pop them in the comments down below.
Kerstin // Lux Mumma
*Creating Routines for Love and Learning, Zero to Three, Early Connections Last a Lifetime, Published February 2010
†Sleep Problems in Young Children, Pregnancy and Baby Guide, NHS, Published March 2017