The Shrinking Bedtime Routine

It’s been nearly a year since we’ve instituted a steady bedtime routine with our 17-month old son, in a desperate attempt to get him to sleep through the night. (Luckily, he’s been doing that for about five months now, starting right after he turned a year old.) Over time, it’s become the highlight of my day, especially on non-telecommuting days when I don’t get a lot of time with him. The routine goes like this:

  • Bathtime

  • Read On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier

  • Read Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown (“Pictures by Clement Hurd”)

  • Play the 13-song, 57 minute “Baby Shutdown Mix”, sing along with it, and put him in the crib when he’s nearly asleep.

When we first started, most nights I’d put him down towards the very end of the mix; then I started putting him on a bed after the fifth song, stop singing, and cuddle him until he fell asleep. A few months later, and it was the third song (“Lullaby” by the Dixie Chicks). And then directly into the crib after the third song, regardless of whether he was anywhere near being asleep.

Recently, I’ve cut out he second song, and I think I might have to cut it down to just “Lullaby” very soon. Through most of the singing, he’s getting quite talky and wiggly, and last night he was saying “nigh nigh, nigh nigh” well before it was time put him down, which I think roughly translates to “that’s nice, Dad, put me down already.” I know that this will have to end sometime; I don’t think it would be healthy if we were still doing this when he’s 16. I just wasn’t expecting it to be so soon.

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