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A Look into the Bedtime Routine with a Baby and a Toddler

Bedtime brings a bit of joy in my house because it means that I get a little time for myself once the girls are asleep. I know that might sound bad, but I spend all day with the girls and I think it is important for me to get my own time so that I can recharge for the next day.

When Avery was four months old, we started her on a bedtime routine. I did it with Harlan and it seemed to work with her, so I knew that it was finally time to get Avery on a great routine as well. Things had to shift a little bit because both girls were now sleeping in the same room together. Avery goes to bed earlier than Harlan, so I knew that Harlan’s routine was going to have to change a little bit as well.

Thankfully both girls have done amazing with our new routine. Avery is sleeping an average of 12 hours at night and Harlan is sleeping around 10 hours. We do have a couple of hiccups occasionally if Avery wakes up in the middle of the night, but generally things couldn’t be going any better.

The key to our routine is being consistent. We are going on three months of this and the girls finally know what to expect at night. Even when we have gone on vacation, we might not stick to the time schedule, but we stick to the routine.

I have people ask me all the time how I manage to get both girls down without interruption, so I thought I would give you a peek into our night time routine. Check it out after the jump!

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  • Time to Eat 1 of 12
    Time to Eat
    Around 5:30 I get Avery ready to eat her solid meal for the day. I usually pick out a fruit and a vegetable for her to eat for the night.
  • Big Girl Meal 2 of 12
    Big Girl Meal
    Around the same time, I feed my toddler, Harlan. Occasionally we will all have a family dinner if my husband is home from work, but there are nights when it's impossible for him to be home and I want to keep the routine intact.
  • Bath Time 3 of 12
    Bath Time
    Dinner usually creates a big mess for both girls, so after we hop in the bathtub. Now that Avery is old enough to sit up on her own, the girls love bath time together. Harlan is super helpful with washing her and always keeps her entertained. I usually take Avery out of the bathtub before Harlan because Harlan likes to have some play time by herself.
  • Baby Massage 4 of 12
    Baby Massage
    I started giving baby massages when I first had Harlan. They have always seemed to have a calming effect on both of my girls. Avery loves it and looks forward to it every night after bath.
  • Bottle Time 5 of 12
    Bottle Time
    Avery gets one bottle a day and that is right before bed. This is usually a task that my husband takes over while I finish getting our dinner ready. It allows for him to bond with Avery since he has been gone at work all day.
  • Pajamas 6 of 12
    Pajamas
    After her last feeding we get Avery into her pajamas. You can tell by the look on her face that she slowly knows that bedtime is near.
  • Play Time 7 of 12
    Play Time
    I know it might sound crazy, but I always let the girls play together in their room before bedtime. Some people that I've spoken to have asked if it gets them too hyper, but I don't think it does at all. If anything, it lets them get out that little bit of energy they have stored up before bedtime.
  • Read Avery a Book 8 of 12
    Read Avery a Book
    Both girls have two different bedtimes. I try to make each one the same but at different moments. Avery gets a book read to her by someone in the family. Tonight Harlan wanted to pick out a book and "read" it to her. Avery's not old enough to understand and I really love that Harlan wants to spend extra time with her so I let her read it to her.
  • Goodnight Avery! 9 of 12
    Goodnight Avery!
    Between 6:30 and 7:00 (depending on when Avery's last nap was) I put Avery down to sleep. I turn on her sound machine, turn off the lights, give her her lovey and leave the room. Since she was four months old, we have always put her to bed awake. She usually just grabs her lovey, rolls over and is asleep within minutes.
  • Family Dance Party 10 of 12
    Family Dance Party
    Once Avery is down my husband and I love to spend time with Harlan. We think that it's super important for her to get alone time with us and this seems to be the perfect time. We always put on music and have fun dancing around the apartment. It's a way for Harlan to get her extra energy out and really enjoy quality time together.
  • Read Harlan a Book 11 of 12
    Read Harlan a Book
    Harlan gets to pick out a book for us to read to her every night. We used to read it to her in her room on the glider, but now that both girls are in the same room we have moved Harlan's bedtime routine out in the living room. She adjusted to the change well and loves having her book read to her.
  • Goodnight Harlan 12 of 12
    Goodnight Harlan
    Harlan's bedtime is usually around 7:00 (sometimes later if Avery's is at 7:00.) She requires a lot of stuffed animals and a lot of books to sleep with. Depending on the night, she usually doesn't give us any problem and is asleep within 15 minutes. Around 7:45 both girls are usually asleep and it's time for my husband and I to enjoy a quiet evening together.

More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.

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