Tag Archives: bedtime

Favorite Lullabies

As the mom of three kids that I still actively put to bed, I have to have a lot bedtime songs in my arsenal. I get requests from Taylor Swift to Disney to worship songs. I even occasionally have to make up a song about a random object. (It’s an “I love lamp.” situation in my daughter’s room some nights.) Thus, my list of bedtime songs is endless, but I’ve compiled a list of some of our current favorites, if you’re getting tired of your old standards.

1. Edelweiss. This is the song from The Sound of Music that is portrayed as the Austrian favorite, sung by both Liesel and the Captain (and the audience at the festival). Both my older kids love it, and it’s not very long, so I learned it quickly, and it’s not some 9-verse song I never feel like singing.

2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow. EK loves this one, mostly because she loves rainbows. But like The Sound of Music, we’ve also watched The Wizard of Oz enough times that all the songs from it are very familiar. This one has a couple verses, but it’s not terribly long either. (Nerd moment: It’s a good way to teach octaves!)

3. Oceans. This is a Hillsong United tune that I’ve sung at church during our service over the last couple of years, and EK loves it. She frequently requests it, and knows all the words. I trim it WAY down – the album version is about 9 minutes long – at bedtime (and at church) and it’s still long. But hey, when your daughter requests that you sing a worship song, you deliver.

4. Getting to Know You. This favorite from The King and I is one of the songs the kids know best. They’ve watched this movie countless times, and still want to watch it sometimes. I think they like seeing all the children!

5. Oh, Mister Sun. This is a kids’ song from way back, and I’m not sure if I even sing the actual words, but I definitely sing it a lot. I often follow it with “Oh, Mister Moon” – a second verse I’m almost certain I make up most of the words to.

6. Disney songs. I know that’s vague, but there are so many that they ask for. Here’s a sampling: Let It Go (Frozen), Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid), I See the Light (Tangled), A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella), Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast), and several. My absolute favorite is Stay Awake (Mary Poppins’s lullaby) and I’ve written an extra verse for each of my children, using their names.

7. You Are My Sunshine. Everyone knows this one, right? Short, easy, to the point, and done.

8. Jesus Loves Me. The kids sing this one at church, so they request it at home. I love it that they want it.

9. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star/ABC. Since these songs have the same tune, when J starts singing it (often without any intelligible words), I go back and forth between which words I sing. Or sometimes I’ll sing them back to back.

10. Colour My World. If you know Hubby and me, you know that we are rock and roll people. So naturally, this Chicago tune had made our favorite song list.

11. Golden Slumbers. This song by the Beatles is a lovely one – from the Abbey Road album.

12. Down to the River to Pray. This bluegrass-y, gospel-y song was featured in Oh Brother Where Art Thou and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Several verses and multiple harmonies make it all the more appealing.

What are some songs you sing to your kids? Are the slow lullabies, rock ballads, or edited rap songs? I’ve heard of all three!

Bedtime Routines

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about our bedtime routines, and how we transitioned our kids from their upstairs rooms to their downstairs ones after the renovation. Since my kids are (newly) three and (almost) one and a half, it’s a little tricky to get bedtime done “right”.

So it made total sense to post about this when I heard about the #mysleepstyle campaign for Wayfair.com for Better Sleep Month this month! Kids can hate bedtime, and so I’m posting today about how we make bedtime go a little more smoothly at our house!

First, I try not to rush a bedtime. In a perfect world, our routine is pretty long. We give the kids a bath, brush their teeth, have some snuggle time (usually reading a book, telling a story, or sometimes a bit of wind-down tv or movie time, and singing a song or two) and then kisses and goodnight. We try not to drag it out forever, because requests for “sing one more song” or “lay with me a while” can lead to another 30 minutes that they should be sleeping but they aren’t. I like for them to fall asleep on their own if possible, so that they can do it later.

Second, my kids always sleep with a swaddle. It was never stuffed animals or pacifiers or anything with them… they just love their swaddles. So I have to make sure they’re in their beds with them, or there wouldn’t be any sleep in my house.

These Aden and Anais swaddles are some of our favorites!
These Aden and Anais swaddles are some of our favorites!

Third, we have “white noise” in their rooms for naps and bedtimes. Depending on the season, it could be a humidifier, a fan, an air purifier, or just a sound machine, but there’s always some white noise. Honestly, I don’t know if they would sleep without it, but I know that in case we’re watching tv too loudly or one of them wakes in the night, it keeps them from hearing every single sound in the house and waking them up.

This is our sound machine. It also hooks up to an MP3 player, but we've never used that feature. Ha!
This is our sound machine. It also hooks up to an MP3 player, but we’ve never used that feature. Ha!

When we moved them into their “big kid rooms” downstairs, we just made sure they had all the comforts of their old rooms, and they transitioned just fine. EK requests for us to leave her door open (which we typically close after she’s asleep) but that’s her only thing that’s different. J also has his “big boy bed” already in his room (he’s still sleeping in the crib) so that when he’s ready for the transition to a real bed, his room won’t change much. When we moved EK to a real bed, it was pretty tough, because she was also changing rooms entirely. Looking back, it might’ve been too much of a transition at once. There was a lot of getting up and down and just never going to sleep and moving her back into her old room just so she’d go to sleep. We weren’t very firm about it, come to think of it!

EK’s bed, fit for a princess!


J's sleeping situation.
J’s sleeping situation.

Well, there you have it! As a mom, that’s #mysleepstyle! Our kids have a routine and a room they love, and often, bedtime goes smoothly for us. What do you do with your kids? Do they have a routine like ours, or a lovey they can’t be without?

I’m not ready yet!

Last night, it happened. Instead of wanting a snuggle and a song tonight, J just wanted to go to bed.

I wasn’t ready for this. He’s my baby! My little tiny boy, who loves snuggles and kisses and resting his head on mama’s chest while she sings!

Granted, he was totally pooped. We had had dinner at our friends’ house, where he also jumped on the trampoline and chased the dog all night. He was more exhausted than normal at bedtime. He even ran amok around the basement right up until the moment I scooped him up and went into his dark bedroom. When I leaned over the crib to get his swaddle, he just sort of lurched forward into the crib – to be honest, I almost lost my hold on him and dropped him in there for real. He just reached down in there, and so I said, “Do you want to just lay down?” and he answered in his little “yes” grunts.

Breaking a mama’s heart.

After I read and sang to EK (at least someone needs it!) I texted my friend Ginna (whose house we had been at), and told her about it. Her response? Yay for another little one on the way, and I will get snuggles for months. That’s a good friend with the perfect reminder! But still… here’s hoping that it was just a fluke, and he’ll still need some snuggles tonight. I’m not ready for my baby to be a big boy.

Why does it always work out that way?

photo (1)

As I type this, I’m sitting on my couch, listening to my son fuss. He should be asleep. It’s 7:50pm, and he’s been in the bed for half an hour. The first 20 minutes were silent – and now, as I’m trying to leave the house, he’s awake and fussing to get up and play. He had a big day full of family photos and playing hard. He needs to rest after the craziness of the day. This is the first night in weeks that he hasn’t gone to bed without any trouble. It’s also one of the first nights that I’m trying to go out to a birthday party that started at 7:00. Hubby is working, and my mom is keeping the kids. She and my daughter are happily watching a quick tv show before bed, and my mom simply requested that J be asleep before I left.

Or it should’ve been a simple request.

I’m dressed, purse and keys in hand, hoping this won’t take all night. I’m dying to see my friends while I’m wearing mascara and not wearing yoga pants. Plus, I don’t want to miss the cake – because there has to be cake, right? But here I am, held back by the quiet (getting quieter…) sounds of my still wakeful son. I’ve check on him several times – checking his diaper, patting his back, giving him smooches. And still he fights sleep.

I wonder how often God waits on us… fussing… whining… refusing to just rest. I wonder if He is sitting, on some heavenly leather sofa, waiting for us to come around to the thing we need the most. He’s probably not waiting so that He can go to a party, but waiting because He knows we will be happy when we finally get what we need – Him. When we rest in Him we are refreshed. We are rejuvenated. We are healthier and more whole. But we put up a fight, just like my son is doing now. We think we know what we want, but we forget to listen to the One who knows best.

It’s Been One of Those Nights

One of these nights, one of these crazy, old nights… -The Eagles

Sure, the Eagles weren’t writing about a mom trying to put her kids to bed, but that one line got stuck in my head as I trudged my way through the worst night in a while.

Today I worked my summer camp job most of the day. We’re leaving on a big trip this weekend, and there is a lot to do between now and then, so naturally the day was pretty busy. This evening, I had a lovely dinner with my family and my friend Katelyn who was in from out of town. Everyone behaved so nicely (due to fairly well-timed naps) and we were home in plenty of time to have a leisurely bedtime routine. Hubby was headed to work so I convinced Katelyn to stay for a few minutes longer for some extra snuggles (read: to be an extra pair of hands for a few minutes).

Ignore my complaining... this girl made my night so much that I'll forget about the bad stuff tomorrow!
Ignore my complaining… this girl made my night so much that I’ll forget about the bad stuff tomorrow!

After the kids were bathed and in pajamas, Katelyn had to leave.  I plopped EK in front of the iPad to watch an episode of Super Why (she LOVES it). We’ve done this before in times that I’m alone with the kids at bedtime and it’s worked fine. This was about 7:45, which is a pretty normal time for J to be getting to sleep. We don’t have an exact time for bed, since if they nap and how long and what we did that day determines what time they get super sleepy.

So I spend the whole episode of Super Why trying to get J  sleepy and it ain’t happening. When EK got bored (about the time J would typically be passed out hard) she kept running in the room, which would jolt J out of any sleepiness we had going. I’d send her out with a job (hop in bed, pick out a book, etc) and try again to get J down. This happened several times, and finally she cried when I sent her out again. I figured it was time for an attention swap (it had been over half an hour) so I laid J down (instant cry) and closed the door. Six months old isn’t too early to have a little fuss and self-soothe practice, so I got EK tucked in, and sleepy-looking. After a few minutes of snuggles, I realized J was doing the opposite of soothing. I said, “Mommy needs to go help J since he’s been crying for a few minutes now.” Cue the screaming toddler. Clearly she hadn’t felt like the few minutes was enough after J had gotten so long with me. I tried going back and forth for a while, but then everyone was crying (including myself, after I had closed both doors, walked to the kitchen, and thought about pouring myself a large glass of wine) so I bit the bullet. I put J on the boob, sat on the edge of EK’s bed and hummed. After J had passed out (he hadn’t been hungry, mind you, he had eaten plenty) I laid him down and went back to EK for another 5 or 7 minutes. All of a sudden, it’s 9:30.

Of course, this was an unusually restless and stressful evening, and of course it’s one that I’m here by myself. When they were finally both asleep, part of me said, “Just go to sleep. Lay down on your bed, and go to sleep.” But the rest (the more responsible part) of me, was reminded of all the chores that hadn’t gotten done yet this week and the laundry and packing that had yet to be done before we go. Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was lie back down next to EK and sleep till tomorrow. But what did I do? Some dishes. A tiny bit of laundry. And then I sat down to write. I needed to vent. I needed to hear from someone that I’m not the only one with nights like this. I needed do a little something for myself – and now that I say that, I realize I should have poured myself that glass of wine.

Please tell me you’ve also had one of these nights…

Big Girl Bedtime Woes

Before I start on today’s actual post, I want to thank you for the HUGE surge of support and love after my last post. It was really wonderful of y’all to read it, share it, comment on it and message me with thanks and encouragement. You are the BEST. Now, on with the post!

Recently, bedtime with EK has been a marathon. Hubby and I have tried a LOT of different things (now that I’ve said that, maybe that’s the problem?) to get her to go to bed and stay there. When J was born, we moved EK, within a few weeks, to a big girl bed in a different room. We tried moving her before he was born, and we just couldn’t get her to stay in the bed, so he ended up arriving before the switch was complete. She began in that bed just like she was in the crib. It didn’t really occur to her that she could get out on her own. If she woke up, she just called for us and waited for us to get her. She slept the same hours, etc. Then she realized she could get out. This applied mostly to the morning for a while… she’d get up on her own, come into our room, and wake us up, either wanting food or smelling like poop. Or both (blerg).

Nowadays, most nights she gets up 2-4 times after we “put her to bed”, which is a routine that includes a book, singing a song or two, getting a good snuggle in, and kissing her good night and leaving. Sometimes she will even wait up to 15-20 minutes before she climbs out of bed the first time to come find us. We end up putting her back to bed – sometimes staying for a snuggle, sometimes dumping her in there and running out – several times before she’s out for the night. Of course, there’s the odd night that she’s TOTALLY pooped and just goes right to sleep without trouble. But unfortunately even those nights don’t seem to be connected with what we do that day. Even on days where she goes swimming or to the children’s museum or something else different and extra energy-using, she might still get up a few times before she’s down.

((Side note: this is also happening at a time in her development where she’s toying around with getting rid of her nap altogether. Obviously, I say she isn’t ready for that yet, especially if she’s going to sleep late and getting up at the same time (early) so naturally I’m even more concerned about this weird nighttime routine.))

I can tell when we’re getting ready for bed each night that EK is tired. I can tell that she would go to sleep if she’d just let herself. She’s not even asking for anything when she gets up… she doesn’t want water or a snack or a fresh diaper. She just wants to wander around. One night earlier this week, Hubby and I did dishes in the kitchen (her room is at the far end of the house, across the hall from ours) for about 25 minutes after we put her in bed, and we were feeling so great because she hadn’t come looking for us. Well, when we went back to our room to get ready for bed, she was sitting on our bed, cute as pie with her blanket and Daddy’s pillow, playing a game on his phone. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Now I have to worry about her sneaking out of her room, instead of just coming straight for us. Little sneak.

Then there was last night. My grandmother, aunt and cousin are in town, so there are lots of extra hands. I snuggled J to sleep, while EK played with my family, and then I did her routine. She was being so sweet and cuddly (because snuggles are hard to get right now!) that I sang a few extra songs. Hubby obviously thought I’d been in there for a while, so he came back to her room, opened the door (RIGHT as she was falling asleep, of course) to come tag me out. Well she started to stir so I waved him off, thinking I could lull her back to sleep and leave. Wrong, wrong, wrong. She wrapped her arms around my neck so tightly I was pulled down at a weird angle and stuck there. She neeeeever does that. The combined body heat and her and another person is usually so much that she wants to lay on her own. Every time I tried to pry her off just so I could change positions, she would whine and hang on tighter. It was the weirdest phenomenon. I ended up just scooping her up in my lap, and she fell asleep on my chest… in the worst possible position for me to try to put her down. Finally, I got her off my lap, still awake, and I laid her down and told her I had to go pee-pee in the potty. She let me go and fell asleep, I’m guessing, 10 seconds after I had left. In one way, it was the most annoying and strange thing she’s done during this crazy bedtime thing we’ve got going on right now. But in another way, I was so glad to have those snuggles that I didn’t care if I should have left her 30 minutes earlier. She’s a daddy’s girl in a serious way, so the fact that she wanted to hang on me and keep me in there for the 4613th singing of “Oceans” was the sweetest part of my day.

Now for the real question: what do you do to keep your toddler in his or her bed at night? What’s your bedtime routine?