Saturday, 29 October 2016

The Bedtime Routine Campaign

Lily has never been a brilliant sleeper. She is about to hit two year old and although her sleep has improved she still has plenty of nights where she wakes me and plenty of nights where she won't go to bed. 

When Lily was a baby, she would wake me continuously though out the night around every 3 hours, and at one point it was every hour. It wasn't until she was about 18 months old did she finally start having some nights of sleeping through. 

But then as she got older, also getting her to bed started to become a challenge. With her being aware that it was bedtime and not wanting to go to sleep. We started to notice she would try her hardest to keep herself awake, fighting her tired eyes and standing up in her cot shouting Mummy, Daddy.
Still to this day we have nights where she is like this and so I was happy to get involved in the Bedtime Routine Campaign to try and see what could help Lily get to sleep and stay asleep. 

The Bedtime Routine Campaign has outlined 10 tried and tested techniques that are found to help a baby sleep. These are

1.            Bedtime stories (61%)
2.            Strict routine (56%)
3.            Black out blinds (50%)
4.            Technology black out (40%)
5.            Night light (37%)
6.            Letting child sleep in your bed (35%)
7.            Controlled crying (29%)
8.            Swaddling (21%)
9.            Taking child for a drive (19%)
10.          Taking child for a walk (17%) 

I was asked to choose one and try it out and see my results. 

For me the two that stood out the most was a Strict Routine and Bedtime stories. As we like to do bedtime stories in our routine already I decided that trying to keep to a strict routine would be the best to do. We have never been able to try out black out blinds as Lily has huge windows in her room. I also have never let Lily sleep in our bed unless she was ill. Im also not a big fan of controlled crying. So these were not an option for us. 

A strict routine for Lily doesn't just start before bedtime. I find it has to be kept up during the day to. Starting with nap time. To be able to get them to nap at the right time is the important thing and so having the naps around the same time each day is crucial. The biggest problem with this is that it all depends on what time Lily wakes up. If its early around 7.30am then I find she will need that nap at about 11.30am. If its later and around 9am then I find around 1pm is a good time for her to nap. That does mean that the daily routine isn't as strict as it could be. But its still routined in the fact that her nap is 4 hours after she wakes up. 

Lily will usually nap for around 1 and a half hours and I never let her nap longer than 2 hours. 

The next part of the routine that is important, is when she has her dinner. I try to get Lily to eat around 5pm so then that gives 3 hours before she is laid down and hopefully going to sleep. 

After that, the bedtime routine will start at about 7.30pm. My partner usually takes her to her bedroom and gets her into her pjs, changes her nappy, and brushes her teeth, while I prepare her a bottle of milk. We like to get Lily involved in the night time routine and so she shuts her own curtains and turns on her own lamp and turns out the light. She then says goodnight to Daddy and I take over. She usually sits on my knee and we read a few stories while she drinks her milk. After the stories I will turn out her lamp and put on her nightlight which puts stars around the bedroom. I snuggle her into my arms for a nice cuddle while she finishes her milk and then lay her in her cot with her favourite teddy's. This part of the routine usually takes around 30 mins and if the whole routine from morning to night has been stuck to, then she will generally go straight to sleep. 

She won't always sleep through though. I found that the days she didn't have a nap. She slept through. But the problem is that she is still to tired in the day for me to cut out her naps and if I don't give her the routined one then she may just fall asleep around 5pm and then won't go to bed at 8pm. 

I do find that its not always easy to stick to a strict routine. I think if maybe you stayed in your house 24/7 then maybe, but of corse you can't do that and we take plenty of days out and they can really mess with the routine. I will find that even if I do the bedtime part of the routine perfectly. If the daytime part of the routine was messed up and so napping and eating times messed up, then she won't go down to sleep. 

I think that any parent really appreciates those good nights though. So even though we can't stick to a strict routine each day and night. I would really recommend trying to do it on those days you can. 

Coming from a parent who has had some very broken nights sleep I would really say that having a routine in place has helped Lily sleep better. So its definetly worth a try. 

You can see my story featured here as well as other bloggers sleep stories. 

I would love to know what things you think help your children sleep? I know each child is different and maybe you know something I don't. Please feel free to comment below and tell me. 


  1. We had to get the help from a sleep therapist with our youngest, and some of the main things she bought about was no TV or any other stimulation for at least an hr before bed - this means no "In the night garden" before bed. And put them to bed at least 12 hrs after they have woken, so where ours would wake at 6am and we were putting them to bed at 7am, we brought this forward to 6pm. There were some other things, but these were the two that really made the difference.

  2. Very similar to you-the better the routine the better they slept

  3. i have been lucky never had sleep problems with any of mine

  4. I found a routine was the best; but also after supper and nice bath, pjs and quiet time with a book or a toy like lego that they can just sit and play quietly for half an hour. Story in bed, tucked in and left. If they get up, go in without fuss and put them back into their bed. Speak as little as possible at this time. Good luck with your routine x

  5. I'm still trying to find something that works. My eldest is 4 and youngest similar age to Lily and it's very rare BOTH of them sleep well. Always one or the other, of both waking up at least twice in the night. We have a strict bedtime, so I just try and keep the continuity with that

  6. My nephew was a nightmare when he was born, but I agree having a routine is the best thing and even when it is hard you still need to stick to it as it will pay off.

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  7. For us black out blinds really really helped. That was my number one thing!

  8. Strict routines I think are good for everyone as you know what time you need to do things and kids must get used to routines (you'd like to hope) x

  9. Kids will sleep when they want, no point trying to force the situation, just makes it worse. My routine was always (and still is to a certain extent) dinner, bath, pjs, chill with mummy watch TVs programme together , read, bed. Doesn't mean they will sleep straight away though..... Good luck!!

  10. I think routine really can help, although my boy is 7 and we still have periods where he struggles to sleep soundly.

  11. Surprised swaddling is not higher up the list - my mum swore by this

  12. I am surprised swadling is not higher up the list, all I hear about, as something with no children, is about how much of a difference it makes x

  13. It sounds like it's so hard to get the balance right! I'd be tempted to try a shorter nap during the day maybe?

  14. Bed time routines, wow I can remember each one so well.
    Many a sleepless night, many times waking up religiously for this and that. With one, it went on a few years. I am glad he is nearly a teen and loves his sleep now. But toddler has started with waking at night, ugh

  15. The blackout blinds for me are a biggie, we need to get some in my girls room ;-)

  16. Showing this to my sister in law -shes really struggling -finds it impossible to maintain any routine