We have always struggled with our bedtime routine, well we have since Isla has been around. She does not like to sleep. We thought, as the children got older, that the bedtime routine would get easier. It hasn’t really and so we have to try lots of different things to help get through those bedtime anxieties. I have written down some things we did when the kiddies were babies and what we do now, incase this helps any one going through similar.
Bedtime routine for babies
When the kiddies were younger we had a typical bedtime routine: evening meal, a little playtime, bath, story time and then bed. We even invested in Ewan the Sheep to help Isla sleep. It helped for a while as I tried to seperate myself from Isla. She didn’t settle if I left her room before she fell asleep. So up until she was 9 months or so I was spending every evening, until she fell asleep, in her room. The nights of singing, rocking and just being next to her cot were quite hard work. She has always had bedtime anxieties ever since day dot. Noah has always been a great sleeper, right from 6 weeks. It is amazing how brilliant he is at going to sleep.
Bedtime routine for children
These days, Isla is 7 and Noah is 9, we still have our issues and I am 100% certain they stem from when Isla was a baby. Noah is still great at going to sleep, however, he gets woken up by Isla or sometimes get FOMO (fear of missing out) and stays awake longer than he really wants to. Isla gets bedtime anxieties all of the time. She doesn’t like the dark, she doesn’t like the silence, she doesn’t like the temperature of her bedroom… you catch the drift.
I think, on average, 4 out of the 7 nights a week she will come down the stairs upset about something. Not because there is anything the matter, but because she wants some reassurance and a little cuddle. We get through it and then she will go to bed. It is really hard to keep the children settled at bedtimes at this age as they do so much; kids clubs are at random times in the evenings and life means they are not always in bed by 7pm. Which is what I aim for, I am not sure if this time is adequate for a 7/9 year old.
On an average night we do the following: get ready for bed around 6:45pm, clean teeth and go for a wee etc, story time and then get into bed. We have a nightlight in both the children’s bedrooms and Alexa who reads them stories for 30 minutes.
Toys to help with anxieties
Having a little routine seems to have settled her a little. As I said above, 4 out of 7 nights she still comes down the stairs for a little reassurance. We have recently got her a Rainbow Dreams unicorn from Bandai, to help settle her. A little night light soft toy helps, unicorns are still her favourite thing too. Rainbow Dreams is a cute soft and snuggly toy that you can find for £16.99 on Amazon. She lights up and plays magical sounds too which Isla just loves.
She has a little routine where she puts all her toys in a particular position. She turns her nightlight on and asks Alexa to play her bedtime stories. I created a playlist of bedtime stories for both Noah & Isla.
I am hoping as she gets older and realises she doesn’t have to be scared these anxieties will ease off. It’s so hard to not let it disrupt the family home at bedtimes. Lots of patience and big, supporting, hugs before bedtime! Do you have any tips on helping with bedtime anxieties as we would love to know in the comments below?