Annie Haas is a mother of 3, singer, artist and all around inspiring mom. Here she shares her bedtime routine, which is very much in the spirit of Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting philosophy. When you’re a parent, getting your child to sleep is important, and there are myriad ways to achieve this. So, while Annie’s family sleep routine has me looking for some lavender rub, remember every family’s style is based on their personal values and philosophies. There isn’t one right time or way to get your baby to sleep. You can visit Annie on Instagram for more information about her art, parenting and Waldorf home.
What ages are your children?
My children are very spread out! They are 15, 8, and 4.
How do you help them slow down towards evening?
My teen reads before bed, and I read and sing to my younger two. Sometimes they have a bath first but not every night. I use a lavender rub on their chest or chamomile tea especially if they need to calm down but sometimes they are so tired they don’t need it!
Do you have a set bedtime?
Yes they are in bed lights out at 8:00. But I lay with them until they fall asleep before going out! If they wake I go in and comfort them immediately. I think doing this consistently for so long is why they are secure and have no bedtime issues.
Have you always been pretty consistent with nights?
No, when they were babies I breastfed on demand and they woke often. There was less of a set bedtime due to feeding. I followed their hunger cues rather than a clock or set times! Now that they are older a set bedtime works great!
Do you cosleep, or do the children sleep in their own beds either in your room or in a separate nursery?
I coslept with all of them but only cosleeping with the 4 year old now. They all never slept in a crib.
Are there any rituals you incorporate into your bedtime routine?
Just baths when needed, teeth brushing, reading/singing, and laying with them. If they can’t sleep I guide them into thinking happy thoughts. I have them imagine something they would like to experience in the future and they are usually asleep within 15 minutes of lights out!
Can you walk us through your routine on an average night?
After dinner we do a family board game and clean up the house. Then we start to give a notice that bedtime is approaching and it’s almost time to brush teeth. We help them brush their teeth with a natural fluoride free toothpaste and make sure they do a good job. Then I go into their room and help them in pajamas and we pick out a book. We read the book and then I get into one of the twin beds with my 4 year old and my 8 year old in the other twin bed. Lights go out and a white noise maker or fan goes on. I lay with them and sing for a little while and tell them goodnight and to think happy thoughts! I rub my 4 year olds back until she is asleep and when they are both asleep I go out. Later on, I bring my 4 year old into my big bed with me! Starting her out in her own bed is our first step in transitioning her there later when she will spend all night there eventually.
How long does the entire routine take you?
30 minutes to an hour depending!
After you have them in bed, are they falling asleep on their own yet or do they need you nearby?
I don’t leave until I know they are asleep.
Are your children sleeping through the night? If so, how long? If not, how many times do they wake every night and how do you get them back to sleep?
My 4 year old wakes a few times but just to put her hand on me and make sure I’m there. She is back out right away. That’s why she is in my bed
Did you sleep train or did everything fall into place eventually?
I’m pretty against the cry it out method and have never done it or even tried it. I couldn’t let an adult cry and certainly not a child! I love cosleeping even if it disturbed my sleep because I love being a comfort to my children at night. I want them to have the most positive sleep memories and I believe this will help them have positive sleep throughout their lives! Everything worked out eventually because I was so patient. My older two are very secure heavy sleepers!
What do you do most nights after your children are tucked away in bed?
Play music with my husband, make snacks, read, or watch something funny and uplifting! I’m very careful with what my mind is doing before bed and try to think happy thoughts too thanks to my kiddos
Do your kids wake laughing, crying or screaming?
They usually yell for me first and I get there before they get too upset! They just yell “Mama!”
From when they were first born I have coslept. I did it in the hospital too even though it wasn’t allowed, I broke the rules. It felt instinctual to me, and I felt like a Mama Gorilla that would snarl at anyone who would tell me otherwise. All the years and years of toil I have put in to making sure they were comfortable and secure has REALLY paid off. Now that they are getting older I see how confident they are, what a strong sense of well being they have knowing they are loved, and how nurturing they are towards others. It’s just how I see early childhood years… as an investment! One of the best investments in the world
All photos courtesy of Annie Haas