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Parents Panel: What's the usual bedtime routine in your house?

Late night singsongs, timed YouTube sessions and lots of ‘ssssh’-ing…

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel what works for them before lights out. What’s the usual bedtime routine in your house?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

‘Biccie and hot’
We start the bedtime routine off with ‘biccie and hot’ which is basically one plain biscuit and a small glass of warm milk. With that they’ll get some time to watch videos on YouTube, 30 minutes for the older two and 15 minutes for the younger (we use a timer). After that it’s brushing teeth, reading and bed. The routine is pretty set and is usually a count back in time from when we need them in bed by.

- Alan Dooley

Strict bedtime, seven nights a week
We stick to the kids’ bedtime routine with military precision. They generally spend their last few minutes before bed reading (school nights) or watching some TV (non-school nights). Once the agreed time for bed comes, that’s it. We’ll make a rare exception for something like the Toy Show.

- Ken Hyland

IMG_3085 Source: Ross Boxshall

Lots of ‘ssssh’-ing and screams
Our ‘routine’ involves lots of hyperactivity, running around, chasing games, screaming, hiding, wild laughter… and more screaming. There’s lots of ‘sssssh’-ing and ‘quiet now please,’ plus endless avoidance techniques and retrieving forgotten items. My wife loves this time of the evening, but I find it stressful. And let’s not mention the night-time awakenings…

- Ross Boxshall

We make sure he falls asleep in his cot
We have a rough bedtime routine with Charlie, but it can change by 15-20 minutes depending on the night. It usually starts with a bottle at 6pm, then playtime, bathtime and storytime. After a long few months, Charlie’s dad has helped him fall asleep in his cot instead of on us, which is great!

- Kait Strickland

shutterstock_526124434 Source: Shutterstock/ANTON NAGY

Chats before lights out
We stick to the same routine for Tymek every night so that it’s consistent for him. When I tuck him in, we always chat for a minute – a reminder about what happened during the day or a list of all the animals that are already asleep (ducks, cats, cows, dogs, monkeys…). We’re lucky that he then falls asleep almost immediately!

- Marta Lisiecka

We sing songs with the lights out
Bedtime has been years of the exact same thing in my house: three stories, brush teeth, cuddles, and I’ll sing a few songs with the lights out. They’re both asleep by 8.30pm. People marvel at how good they are at going to bed, but they make up for it by getting up every single morning at 6am regardless of whether you’re sick, hungover or just tired.

- Suzie Kelly

No friends in the house after 9pm
It’s very hard to have a bedtime routine when you have such an age gap in kids (21, 16 and two). The older ones are constantly playing video games, watching TV, listening to music or having their friends over and so the noise level in the house is quite high. I have a rule that all friends have to be gone by 9pm so that my toddler Ellie has a chance of getting to sleep.

- Denise Cumiskey

shutterstock_567812326 Source: Shutterstock/Yuganov Konstantin

He’s a good sleeper, except when he’s scared of bears
Of late, our three-year-old son likes to play with some of his cars or ‘read’ his books before bed, after our proper storytime at 7pm.  He then likes to get into bed himself, and off to sleep he goes!  There are some nights where he really doesn’t want to go down, or he will get up and tell us that he’s afraid of bears.  We reassure him that we will always keep him safe, and remind him there are no bears in Ireland!

- Olly Keegan

Cuddles and a dark bedroom
We have a fixed nighttime routine that works like a charm for my daughter – so we don’t dare mess with it. Change of clothes into pyjamas, upstairs into a dark bedroom with a great nightlight that reflects images on the wall, cuddles in an armchair while having her bottle and she is out for the night. Well, most of the time…

- Ríona Flood

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More Parents Panel: What one thing has worked to calm your crying baby?

More Parents Panel: How do you manage to stay within budget at Christmas?

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