3 Bedtime Rituals That Work — With 3 Kids Including A Baby
Sophie Jaffe is a certified raw-food nutritionist and raw-food chef. She's a member of the Yoga Alliance as an advanced teacher and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer.
So many parents—especially new parents—absolutely dread the nighttime routine. As a mama of three, including our littlest and last babe Noa, sticking to a bedtime routine is a MUST in our house. And after three kids, we've found a routine we all love that helps everyone settle in and drift off to a dreamy and healing night of sleep.
Our perspective has been to treat the pre-bedtime wind-down as sacred family time without work, movies, games, TV, and distractions of any kind. It's our time to bond and connect while we slowly ease into rest. I rely on rituals and tools to help our bedtime cultivate a stronger and deeper sleep for ALL of us—when we all get restful sleep, we're more energized the next day, more focused, and we feel more connected to the moments in our day.
Here are my three must-do rituals for a bedtime routine that works with kids:
1. Unplug at least two hours before getting ready for bed.
As a rule in our home, we keep screen time to a minimum during the week, but this is especially important before bed. At least two hours before sleep time, all of us (including the hubby and me) shut down our screens—computer, TV, tablet, phone—so we can give our eyes and brain a chance to wind down. We also use this as the time to clean up any toys left out before we all get ready for bed.
2. Turn bath time into self-care.
We LOVE bath time at our house. Ever since Kai and Leo were babies, it's been their time to disconnect from their day and reconnect to each other, nurturing their bond. It allows them to be creative in their imagination with their bath toys and just be free of distractions.
Now that Noa is added to the equation, it's definitely more chaotic—but still full of so much joy, smiles, and love. I use Burt's Bees Baby Foaming Shampoo & Wash because it's made with natural, organic ingredients that are formulated for sensitive baby skin, and its creamy lather keeps the kids' skin clean and fresh.
3. Tell stories and meditate together.
Once the PJs are on, teeth are brushed, and we're all settling into bed, we read stories together. I also love to rub some Burt's Bees Baby Ultra Gentle Lotion over Noa and the boys before bed to help soothe their skin, hydrate it, and gently ease their bodies to sleep. It's quick-absorbing, which the kids love, but it's my go-to because it's fragrance-free and National Eczema Association–approved, meaning it's safe for the most delicate baby skin.
I'll rock with Noa before she goes to sleep and read some picture books to her. My oldest, Kai, is the reader of our family and reads on his own. But after we've spent this sacred quality time together sharing in stories, whether from books or from our day, the kids will gently drift off to sleep. I guide my boys through a gentle "meditation" that focuses on the breath and slows down the mind.
Sleep is so important for all of us in our family. We treat it as such with sacred rituals and self-care practices that enhance the quality of sleep and prepare our bodies and mind for the rest ahead.