Take Back the Night: How We Stopped One Bad Night From Becoming a Habit

Celeste just turned two years old and I still feel like its taboo to declare that we have a good sleeper on our hands.

I could tell when I was pregnant that she loved catching zZZ’s. When I would stand up in the morning, I could feel her being woken up in my belly and giving me a kick in the ribs from sheer annoyance.

When she was a newborn, she slept 5-6 hours off the bat. Our doctor would tell us to wake her up to feed her. YEAH, RIGHT! Was that supposed to be a joke? We never woke her up.

This didn’t mean there weren’t tough nights. We had our fair share.

The worst night of all was when she was about 18 months. She wouldn’t settle into sleep without someone in the room. She was waking up and crying even though nothing seemed the matter.

We kept going in and out. For some reason I still don’t understand, Chris started rearranging her room at 2 AM. I walked in to see a chair halfway across the floor and there just wasn’t a rationale reason. I certainly couldn’t understand why a decor change at 2 AM would help a toddler fall asleep. It did not help.

The next morning, I drank my body weight in coffee and wrote down a new bedtime routine that worked FOR US. I called this mission: TAKE BACK THE NIGHT!

Within 10 minutes, I made this cute word document to help Celeste understand her bedtime routine.

Bedtime Routine for Toddler

That night, we showed her the paper with over-the-top enthusiasm as we went through the steps. We made it fun (but calm).

Once we got to the (dreaded) last step, “Go To Sleep”, we walked out and shut the door. She cried. (NO!) I set a timer for one minute then walked back in. I told her that I loved her and its time for sleeping. Then I sang a song and walked back out.

SHE CRIED AGAIN! I set a timer for two minutes. By this point, my husband started to panic so I told him to please try to breath and just watch the Ranger game. After the two minutes was up, I walked back in and repeated. Loving words, Song, Walk Out.

Repeat at 4 minutes. Husband is still panicking but the Rangers were actually playing well. Thank God.

Four minutes is all it took. She fell right to sleep. Since that night, there hasn’t been one tear shed at bedtime.

This may not work for every family or every child but it worked for us. That’s good enough to share and hopefully help out someone else.

You can download the document and customize it yourself here! Please let me know how it goes.

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