Its been a week now but my youngest son Kian is now out of mummy and daddys bed and sharing with his older brother. We have a rigid bed routine in which 1st bedtime starts at 6:30 then the 2 boys 7:30 then the 2 older girls 8:30. Our bed routine has always started early and a lot of people have always said that 6:30 is a little early for bed. My daughter Erin who is 4 is sometimes sat at the bottom of the stairs asking to go to bed. She is so used to the routine and obviously needs it at she goes to bed no messing and generally sleeps through till the morning.
My need for bed routine started when I had my 3rd child Luke. He was a premature baby and 2 weeks old. Chloe and Lauren were in their own room, put to bed no problem, but were both waking every hour for a 7oz bottle of milk. This went on for weeks every hour 2 crying babies and Luke needing attention…..Shattered was an understatement. The nurse from the special care baby unit came to visit Luke one morning and I literally broke down telling her how I was up every hour to the girls giving them a bottle. She sat there and laughed at me and I was sobbing my heart out. Her words to me were “They are playing you up. They dont need to be having a bottle every hour” I gave all the excuses I could but she was having none of it. She told me to give them their bottle before bed, put them into bed and to leave them to cry I was absolutely mortified. How could I leave them to cry?? We had a long talk about this and she told me to try it, that it would take around 4 nights but it would be worth it. That has been one of the best pieces of advice as a mum I have been given. It took 3 nights of constant screaming, crying, banging “Mummy I love you ” but after a while they did settle of and went to sleep.. I was still having to be up with Luke as he was poorly being born a prem baby, on an Apnea Monitor, but I could focus more on him and didnt have to keep getting upto the girls. Since then Ive always had a bed routine and it works wonders. It gives me time with the other children and also gives me time with the hubby. Sometimes to just tidy up in peace or watch tv. I do miss my cuddles with the baby in bed but he is 2 now and has to be a “big boy”with his brother.
Tips for parents:
The first 3 nights of establishing a bed routine are torture. The amount of crying that is done, neighbours must be thinking “what is going on next door?” but you have to be strong. As long as they are put to bed clean, nappy on(if needed), dummy (or comforter ie blanket,teddy) and the room is safe, there is no need for you to be going into your child. If anything like my experience, they will scream the house down and like me you will probably end up crying like I did, but this will only happen for a couple of nights a week maximum. The end result is worth it as your child will be going to bed at a reasonable hour and you as parents will have time to yourself. Children are very clever and do Know what they are doing, so dont give in. Keep checking on them but don’t directly speak to them. The benefits are really worth it…..Good luck x x x