You’ve Gotta Love Bedtime Rituals


“My little guy goes to bed at 7 p.m. every night and doesn’t wake up until 7 in the morning,” my friend bragged during our sons’ scheduled play date. Okay, she didn’t actually brag, but I perceived it as bragging because I so wanted that to be my reality.

“Really?” I asked, trying not to sound envious.

“Yes, how about you? What time does your son go to bed?” she asked.

“Well, it varies. I haven’t gotten him on a schedule just yet,” I answered vaguely.

For the life of me, I wasn’t going to actually tell her that my twenty-two month old stays awake until 11:30 p.m. at night.

You see, once my little boy goes to bed, he has an inner alarm clock that tells him to wake up in nine hours. (Of course, sometimes he wakes up repeatedly at night if he’s teething or has a bad belly—that’s another story.) Nine hours isn’t bad…it just means that if he goes to bed at 7 p.m., he will wake up for 4 a.m. If he goes to bed at 10 p.m., then he won’t wake up until 7 a.m. You get the drift.

Since we don’t want Lil’ Lewie to wake up too early (especially since it’s summer, and I have the time off to be with him), I’ve been very lax with his bedtime routine. I pretty much let him play, play, play, until he’s either interested in relaxing in our arms or finding a place on the couch or floor to make himself comfortable. On some nights, it feels like my husband or I fall asleep on the couch watching TV first before our little guy actually shows an interest in winding down. Then, once he does fall asleep, we whisk him away upstairs to his crib. It’s a good way to avoid unnecessary complaining or whining, but it’s bad for creating a schedule. Waiting for our little guy to fall asleep by himself downstairs takes a lot of patience, and it can happen as soon as 9 p.m. or as late as 11:30 p.m.

After watching an episode on Dr. Phil and doing some reading on my own, I discovered, surprise surprise, that Lil’ Lewie would be much better about falling asleep if we created a bedtime ritual for him. (I know what you’re thinking…yeah, shocker!) The truth of the matter is that we needed Lil’ Lewie to get used to falling asleep, not downstairs, but in his own room at a scheduled time—a scheduled time, ideally before 11:30 p.m.—a scheduled time ideally before my husband and I fall asleep and Lil’ Lewie is still awake roaming the house.

I took the advice of so many other mothers before me and decided to get him on a routine this week. Starting this past Monday, I’d get Lil’ Lewie in his pajamas around 8:30ish and give him his last sippy cup of milk for the night. Then, I’d have him come to the sink to brush his teeth (this is another story all by itself), and I’d bring him up to his crib where I would read him a story, sing to him, and kiss him goodnight. I’ve kept this consistent throughout the week, and it’s worked like a charm. Sure my little guy fusses for the first few minutes after I leave the room, but then, all of a sudden…it’s quiet. It worked like magic!

My husband and I aren’t the smartest of people. It’s taken us some time to catch up to speed with the rest of the parents in the world who have it together. All I can say is that sometimes copying other people’s tricks is what it’s all about.


  1. That's so great! It will be so nice for you and your husband to have a little alone time. As much as I love my daughter, it's nice to have a little down time each night!

  2. I cringed when I saw 11:30pm....because I would have no time alone with my husband...ya gotta have that time!!

    Lewie is adorable...and I'm so glad you found a trick that works for you...I'm always stealing ideas from other moms....whatever keeps me sane.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Your son is GORGEOUS!

    My little guy is 3.5 and goes to bed between 10:30 and 11 every single night like clock work...Then he sleeps till 10-11 the next day. With my husbands hours and the strange routine we have, it so vibes for to me again when school

    Good luck with your new routine!


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