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Bedtime Routines: How Parents Say Nighty-Night

Get tips from other parents on getting your toddler to sleep and other bedtime routines to put your child to bed.
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Rock-a-bye baby, pleeeeeeeeease stay asleep! These parents have learned the baby sleep secrets—and they’re letting you in on them.

Create a calendar: "Every Sunday our daughter picks who (my husband or myself) is going to read to her each night of the following week, and we put a name on the calendar for that night. At bedtime, she gets so excited to check the calendar and see who’s reading to her!"
—Liz DeRoven, mom of two, Berkley, Michigan

Do it spa-style: "With our 11-month-old we do bath, lotion, massage, story time, a little rocking, and then bed. There are usually very few tears, and he’s not an easy baby. Our 3-year-old gets to choose a story and a ‘friend’ (a toy or stuffed animal) to bring to bed. Neither boy gives us much objection because we stick to our routine."
—Rebecca Smith, mom of two, Greenwood, South Carolina

Let them DIY: "I lay my 8-month-old down drowsy but awake, so she teaches herself the important skill of going back to sleep. The bonus is that when she wakes up during the night, she doesn’t freak out or need my help getting back to sleep."
—Liz Tracy, mom of three, York, Maine

Pull a Supernanny: "Just like the nanny on TV recommends, we get every possible excuse out of the way before our daughter gets in bed. She goes potty, gets a sip of water, blows her nose, gets hugs and kisses, and gets covered up. That way, after we tuck her in, the "I have to go potty" yelled down the hall doesn't work and she knows that all whines will be ignored. If she gets out of bed, we pick her up—no eye contact, no speaking—put her back, and leave the room. We do this as many times as needed until she gives up and passes out. It's an effective, kind, and consistent routine that works wonders!"
—Hilary Brady, mom of two, Wilmington, North Carolina

Send in Daddy: "About a year ago, it was really hard to get our youngest to sleep. She never wanted me to leave the room. My husband started creating these stories based on her best friend. They usually involve some adventure with our daughter saving the day. She goes to sleep giggling every night."
—Nancy Kleinfeldt, mom of three, Huntington Woods, Michigan

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