Boys are Different – Bedtime Routines

2004 (19 months old) - Nap Time

When Princess Nagger was a baby, our nightly routine was rocking in the glider rocker in her room reading bedtime stories until she fell asleep – sleep usually happened halfway through the first story.   I would then gently lay her in her crib, tiptoe out of the room, and breath a sigh of relief that she was a sound sleeper that wasn’t bothered by barking dork dogs or any other unwanted noise that happened after lights out.

As she grew older, particularly when she graduated to a toddler bed, our nightly routine was still the same – only she would be more interactive with the stories, wanting to be the one turning the pages and insisted we stop to look at all the pictures.  That meant that rarely did she fall asleep before it was time for light’s out, but enjoyed being tucked in and willingly gave good night hugs and kisses before drifting off into blissful sleep.  She didn’t utilize too many stall tactics (at first) or get out of bed (much).

Once she started school, she didn’t indulge in as many stall tactics (though there were still some present) and if she had a particularly active day at school, she’d even go to bed without saying a word to either the Hubby or I, falling fast asleep before it was even her bedtime.  With school right around the corner, I anticipate that to be the case since our bedtime routine this summer has been quite lax.

It’s hard to remember how those routines five years ago were executed – especially since we’ve been spoiled by her independent nature and adopting or acquiring new routines as each year passed.  Now we’ve hit a rewind button and have reverted back to the ‘routine mode’, since the Little Dude has come along.  This first week of having him as part of our family has flown by fairly quickly, it’s like we’re currently living in an episode of the Twilight Zone – we fell asleep one night with one kid, and woke up the next day with two.

Revisiting old routines aside, I’m learning very quickly that toddler boys are definitely much different than toddler girls.  Even if you have a non-girly toddler girl like Princess Nagger was back then. Or even now

Boys are different.

They don’t want to cuddle and have you read to them – they want to play with their little cars and go “Vroom, Vroom!” instead.  But heaven forbid you should stop reading the story, because they want you to continue – while they continue to play.  And not fall asleep.  Then get upset and say “But I’ll miss you!” when the last story is read and it’s time for light’s out.

Boys are definitely different.

Aside from reading until I’m hoarse, or picking stories that are boring, or reading for almost an hour until the has fallen fast asleep, I haven’t yet found that magical bedtime routine that keeps the tears at bay.  From either of us.  But we’ll get there.  One day at a time – or maybe that should be one bedtime story at a time.

Which brings me to this week’s question(s):

Do you (or did you) have a magical bedtime routine that works wonders?  How do you get a precociously playful dude (or dudette) to go to bed – and stay there – successfully?

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35 thoughts on “Boys are Different – Bedtime Routines

  1. Hello from the Friday Blog Stalk! That’s just funny each time I write it! Have a great weekend and drop by for a visit.

  2. I don’t have a routine for the boys.. but it does involve getting dressed for bed and brushing their teeth.. I’m still working on getting the girl to stay asleep.. the boys so far only started sleeping through since they were 3yrs old.

  3. I love the picture of the princess….. good luck with the bed times… I bet you just need a little time to get into a groove…

  4. My kids were both very different and they are both girls. My oldest didn’t need a bedtime routine. She would go to bed as instructed. My youngest wouldn’t go to bed no matter what happened. I have photos of her, standing up in her crib, when she fell asleep standing up because she refused to lie down.

  5. Cong on the new addition! We haven’t really had a routine since the 2yo-3yo stage, so I can’t really help you out other than to say that whatever you do, be consistent! (I should take my own advice.) 😉

  6. I don’t guess we had any particular bedtime routines. We have four kids (now ages 10, 13, 15, 18) and each one of them slept with us in our bed pretty much from the time they were born until they were around 3. They all transitioned into their “big boy” or “big girl” bed without too many problems. My husband works nights a lot so I never minded if they wanted to sleep with me, even as they were older.

  7. Our bedtime routine is almost like yours. Reading, singing, hugging and kissing and lingering 🙂

    I did this with both kids and it’s true that boys are different but D would go nuts if we didn’t read together, him holding the book too and etc.

    And they usually stay in bed. When they were younger, I could sometimes find little feet under the door, they’d come to the door to peek or just sstay or whatever reason and end up falling alseep right there on the ground and I”d have to lift them back to bed, but that wasn’t too many times at all.

    So I’d say just tell them how proud you are of them being such big kids and staying in bed 🙂

  8. For both of the boys, we have just been consistent with bedtime. Of course, our little guy continues to have issues with bedtime. Now we think it is his bed. The best bet is to keep up with something that works to settle themn – a bed time book, or other quiet item. Oh and I am a firm believer in reward charts, even for this they will work!

  9. Oh, I wish I had a magic solution. I think it is just the first week and you will have to just try a few different things to see what works.
    I do have one suggestion you might want to try to teach him to fall asleep on his own it is best for the entire family.

  10. A huge problem for me. Bedtime takes so long and I have such little patience. I still do my best, but I haven’t got it down. With my two boys, one was great at everything, the other was a contract son! With Trinity, I either read her a book, let her watch “1” video and then be very firm about her keeping her eyes closed. It works sometimes. 🙂

  11. Boys are so different. I have two, they are different from each other too! lol. Congrats on your son! I think that is just awesome. It will be such a great life experience for you. I am done with children collecting, but would reconsider if I somehow turn the financial pot into a similar Jolie-Pitt.

  12. Luckily, all 3 of my children went to bed each night with no trouble and after their story etc., went right to sleep.

  13. Yes, boys are different. And in my experience, each kid is different too. I have two of each 😉 With my oldest son, our routine was bath, favorite tv show for 30 minutes, which at the time was Caillou and pretty tame so it didn’t get him wound up. Then one book per year of age and lights out. My older daughter and younger son were just bath, books, bed.

    Since he’s new to the house I’d give him some time to settle in and try to keep any sort of routine. The consistency will probably be a comfort. Later you can institute a bed time ticket. It goes like this…you get a snack/glass of water/potty break/story/snuggle/whatever you need before bed. Then you get one ticket to use if you need something. If you call for mom or dad you use your ticket and then that’s it. Lights out. Period. At the end of the week if you have stayed in bed or have extra tickets you earn a prize.

    Good luck! ((hugs))

  14. Boys! this is where I ROCK! 3 boys later? it’s much better.
    Boy one? fall asleep pressing buttons on a hard ball that said “Hello Baby”, “bye bye”, Meow, ruff, “teddy bear” and something else. TJ pushed that button less. So he’s fall asleep playing in the crib. He moved to a toddler bed, we put up a gate at bedtime and said “good night” 🙂
    AJ? we had a futon mattress on teh floor because he nursed longer and he was cuddly and wanted someone with him in bed. (Very tired years) He still at 10 sleeps with the light on. (yeah)
    MJ? holy different child, drink, brush teeth, pee, “good night” and BAM! he’s out cold in 5minutes.
    So each boy? will be different.
    The “I’ll miss you?” is a huge hint to his routines before now. If he’s not seen the same person in the morning as at night? or if he’s lost someone it’s grief, and he’s going to need to talk all that out. He may be the one telling you stories.

  15. mmmm…I had to think about this one, it’s been a long time since I had to put the wee ones to bed. When they were babies, it was mostly when they were ready. As they got older, I do know that we had a certain time they had to climb in bed. When they were in elem. school it was 9 o’clock and in Jr. High it was 10 o’clock, and Sr. High was closer to 11 o’clock. Although, they were often in bed earlier, because we lived on a farm and they had farm chores to do before school. So our days started at 6 o’clock in the mornings. Times were different when I was raising my children.

  16. My bedtime routine was to just take them into our bed. That way they slept, and so could I.
    Turned out, they eventually left on their own. When they were about eight.

  17. Aloha Friday, Miss Stacy! Good luck getting Little Dude to sleep…. What a sweet blessing he must be to your family….. Hope you guys have a great weekend together…. 🙂

  18. Holy cow did I miss a lot! Congrats on the new addition Stacy! Yes, boys are way different. My sister has a daughter who is 1 month to the day older than my son, and holy smokes…I’m glad I have a boy! Although, I will admit that bedtime with a boy is harder on me. My oldest is 5 (I had another boy in Feb, so this ought to be interesting, lol), and I still get the “but I’ll miss you” bit all the time. We’re actually due to change our bedtime habits (for about the eighteenth time – as I’m the only adult in this house that can follow a routine!), as we’ve been letting him fall asleep in our room, knowing that he will be moved to his bed after about an hour. With school starting soon, we’ll be doing story time in my room (as we have the big bed), then sleeping in his room. Now that he’s seen the Lego Harry Potter toys, I bought the first book to read to him, so I won’t mind reading to him for an hour!

  19. My boys were different too! They liked the TV on or the radio. My girls loved to be rocked and sung too, and my oldest daughter was a pacifier baby. I had to tell her finally that the factory burned down and they don’t make them anymore… (long story). She was 3 when I did that (I’m such a bad Mommy). My son was a bottle baby until he was three. My oldest son was creative, and always building or fixing something, but my youngest & spoiled son would come up to me, and would say what do I do now? I don’t know what to do. Drove me crazy, but I wish that little boy was here now! Enjoy your baby days, and childhood days they are taken away so quickly! Now before I start to blubber… only one more follower at my blog and my Gala Give-Away will commence! Wish me luck! And give the babies a hug from me and have a great weekend.

  20. Ooops, forgot to answer your question. Bribery helped me a lot! Some days I’d tell the boys that they would get any kind of cereal that they wanted in the morning or the best one that worked for a while was if you hurry up & go to sleep tomorrow you can get dressed, and go out & play or I would put up the pool or slip & slide. The best ones if we’re truly going some where especially if they liked the place. I worked a lot, so I had to be careful what I said they would call me on a drop of a hat to go in. Hope that one helps! hugzzzzzzzzzzzz me

  21. yes, my hubby and I came up with a bedtime routine where we pretend to fight over carrying our daughter up to bed which leaves her giggling like crazy. We started this when she was about three and even now at the age of 5, she loves to be the center of attention at bedtime wondering which of us is going to chase her up the stairs. We are lucky, once tucked in she is happy and stays put until morning.

  22. My first girl would not stay in bed. I would have to remind, scold, threaten . . . and she would still get out of bed almost every night. Now she’s the easiest one of the 3.

  23. I can’t remember that far back but what I will say is that consistency works every time. Pick a routine and stay with it. Little Dude needs that as much or more than you do.

  24. If there is a magic bedtime routine I need it. Especially lately. Leo has been a terror at night and tantrums are a must. I hope Little Dude gets on a routine to make life easier for you!

  25. Boys ARE different. I have all sisters, then had daughter. When her little brother came along, I had no idea how different little boys can be.

  26. We have had bedtime wars round here with our boy. We went through hell to get where we’re at now, but he gave us heck, he did. We stayed consistent, withstood some crying, and now have a routine and then lights out, goodnight. My friend says her girl was always easier to put to bed than her boy. My mom says I was harder to put to bed than my brother though. Who knows!

  27. Our routines are the same as yours… and my story is the same as yours… my daughter is the sleeper (who took naps well into five years of age) while my son won’t sleep and never really did.

    In time our son learned that we did our bedtime routines, read stories and then we left his room, period. Yes, he cried at first and tried all sorts of stall tactics including the whole, I need a glass of water and I need to go potty routine. But in the end, he figured it out. Once everything is done, he turns on his music, we give hugs and kisses and after prayers, we walk away. It works most of the time. Sometimes, he still calls for us for something, but usually not anymore. You’ll get there and it’s so true, boys are different! Good luck!

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