Hello friend! As I’m writing this post I’m picturing you. You are probably a whole lot like me (or the old me): exhausted, sleep deprived, looking for answers on how the heck to get your sweet child to sleep through the night. Am I right? Or maybe not, maybe you have it all figured out and you are a sleep training wizard and that's amazing too. In fact, if the later is you, teach us all your ways. But If you are reading this because you found a link somewhere promising you all of the solutions to your sleep troubles, I’m here to tell you, the road to sleep is a marathon not a sprint. It took me two and a half solid years of pretty much getting everything wrong to figure it out. But today, as a Mom of three year old twins, I am officially sleeping through the night and so are my twins…and the whole situation is glorious. So when our Real Talk With Real Mom’s group announced that this month’s topic was all on sleep…I was excited to share what has worked for us! I'll be linking to all of the other Mom's posts at the end of mine so keep reading for all of their sleep routines.
Our Bedtime and Sleep Routine
First of all, let me say that I am writing this post on our bedtime and sleep routine based on my three year old toddlers. However, parts of our process can definitely benefit all ages. It’s a post about routine and consistency and the magic of essential oils and stickers. YUP, stickers. HA! Ok, let’s get to it.
Bedtime Routine for Toddlers
One thing I’ve always been good at with the twins is routine. A Bedtime routine for toddlers is SO important. It gives them a sense of stability because it's always the same each and every night. We start our process at 7:15 pm with a bath to start the relaxation process followed by jammies, teeth brushing, and books read in their bedroom. It’s pretty simple really but it makes a big difference when there is a predictable routine involved. They twin gets to chose one book to read (only one) before bed. It’s been our routine since they were very little and it means that there is no room for asking for more things and delaying bedtime.
Around the age of TWO I put in some hard work (and some tears) to get them to sleep in their own beds through the night. That’s an entirely different post but it’s important to mention. By two and a half they were sleeping through the night from 8:00 pm until about 6:00 am. That morning wake up call was rough but I was definitely grateful for the solid night’s sleep.
Sleep Regression in Toddlers
Then when the twins were about THREE years old and a few months the regression hit. Oh my lord it was bad. Jackson was waking up so many times throughout the night that I honestly thought something was wrong. Then Millie jumped on board. I was so used to never hearing them cry that I’d go in for every little thing: a blanket adjusted, another kiss, any little request. It got completely out of hand and I was loosing my mind. Regression is totally normal but I had to get back to my sleep.
Just about this time I did two things that changed the sleep in our house significantly. I implemented a sticker rewards chart for sleep AND I bought my Young Living starter kit of essential oil. When I first bought my oils I thought, MAYBE this will help my kids sleep. I really had no idea that those oils would support us in a ton of ways from immune support to sleep support, emotional support, hormonal support and the list goes on.
Essential Oils for Sleep Support in Kids
Let's talk about the amazingness of essential oils for sleep support in kids. One of the very first rollers I made with my starter kit was a toddler sleep roller. I think I used lavender and Frankincense because that’s what I had. I also started diffusing Peace & Calming and Lavender in their bedroom every night during our book and bedtime routine and I started to see a small change. I was so excited!
Then I really got into my oils and the next month I ordered Roman Chamomile (which promised all the sleep support), Cedarwood, Sleepyze and Gentle Baby. GAME CHANGER!
All of a sudden I had a sleep arsenal of oils at my disposal. Every single night and every single nap time I worked these oils into our routine. It's important to stick to the same routine for all sleep so naps follow the same formula minus the bath. First the twins and I fill the diffuser with water and oils. I've tried lots of different combinations: Cedarwood and Lavender, Gentle Baby and Orange, Lavender and Peace & Calming but the oil I found to work the best, and that I loved most was Gentle Baby.
Gentle Baby is an amazing oil for so many things from preventing stretch marks to bonding with newborns, to sleep support. Even a three month old can benefit from this oil if applied properly in a diluted form. But for my three year olds, I love it diffused in their room. Just 4 drops at night in their diffuser to create a sleepy atmosphere.
Oh, how could I forget Valor! My personal favorite emotional support oil of all time and also a great one for little ones who have a hard time going to sleep. Valor is the "bravery oil" and boosts feelings of confidence. Roll a bit over their heart and in the palms of their hands for bravery in the dark.
Nightmares a problem? Try adding a drop or two of Dreamcatcher to your little one's blend! It promotes nothing but positive dreams.
SLEEP ROLLERS FOR KIDS
I tried a few different combinations of sleep rollers to see which worked best for the twins. Like anything, oils are so personal! Here is the roller recipe that WE love and a few more that you might want to try. All of these are diluted for toddlers ages 2 and up.
OUR FAVORITE SLEEP ROLLER
In a 5 ml roller bottle
5 - 10 drops lavender (I use 5)
5 - 10 drops cedarwood (I use 5)
5 drops roman chamomile
fill with fractionated coconut oil
Note: as you child grows in age and gets more used to oils you can increase the amount of drops.
Each night after bath time we get in jammies and roll their spines and feet with their sleep roller. I roll a little in the palm of their hands and on their chests in the shape of a heart. The twins love the smell of their sleepy oils! It helps them relax and it’s just another queue that it’s bedtime. We already have the diffuser bubbling away, the white noise machine on and soft flute music playing. The lights are dim and we read two books. We spray the twin’s sheets and stuffed animals with our sleepy sheet spray and get into bed.
SLEEPY SHEETS SPRAY
6 drops Gentle Baby
6 drops Lavender
Splash of unscented witch hazel
Fill with water & shake
We sing a very quick bedtime song and say goodnight with a kiss. The twins know that after the door closes, it’s sleep time. Usually that does it. I occasionally have to go back in a few minutes later for one more kiss but I’m pretty much guaranteed a solid sleep from 8:00 pm until 7:00 am the next day.
STICKER REWARDS CHART
The other factor in this sleep change is our sticker rewards system. Nothing like bribing your kids to sleep! If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you've spotted our sleep chart progress on stories. Every night before bed I remind them, sleep through the night and don’t call for Mama and you get to put a sticker on your chart! It works friends. When they fill up their sticker chart they get to pick out a new toy. Last month, every time Jackson put a sticker on his chart he would say, “I’m almost to my snorkel!” It was the cutest thing ever.
I hope this post has helped you with some ideas for creating a sleep routine for your kids. If you want more information on getting started with essential oils you can read my post here or message me and I would be happy to help you get started with oils.
REAL TALK WITH REAL MOMS
I'm so honored to be a part of this amazing group of fellow Mom's who also happen to blog! Read all about their journeys with sleep here:
Chelsea // Lovely Indeed
Jen // The Effortless Chic
Kelly // Studio DIY
Cyd // The Sweetest Occassion
Erin // Apartment 34