Recently Cohort 8 shifted from a two nap schedule to one nap. The new sleep routine has me thinking a lot about the routine we follow surrounding sleep.
Here's a peek into our sleep routine:
Before we even get mats out, we've already been talking about resting our bodies - we start having the conversation at lunch time, continue it through diaper changes, and conclude the conversation as we start getting ready. These pre-conversations help everyone get ready for the transition and keeps them aware of what is happening throughout our day.
Now that Cohort 8 has moved into wobbler/toddler age, everyone is given the opportunity to help get the room ready. We pick up toys together and put the mats out in the different spots. Sometimes this turns into a pile up, everyone wanting to snuggle on the mats, but eventually we sort out ourselves and the mats.
Once our sheets are put on the mats, I do a quick finish of getting the room ready - curtains drawn, music on and lights turned off. Our nap music is the biggest clue that we are getting ready to rest and often once it gets turned on, Cohort 8 is looking for a spot to snuggle in - even if sometimes the couch or a friend's mat is chosen over their own mats! This is another point in the routine when we do a lot of observation and talking about where each mat is and who will sleep there.
"G, your mat has the green sheet. You can grab your blanket and lay down here, on your mat."
"T, your sheet is green, too, but also has polka-dots. You can rest here."
"I notice J is lying down. Let's give him lots of space to rest."
Than we all settle on our mats! I once read that it takes the average adult 15 minutes to settle in before falling asleep. Since hearing this, I try to take the first 10 minutes of being on our mats as a settling time - moving, shifting, soft sounds, crying - with one stipulation, we need to stay on our mats. After about 10 minutes, I may move close and help settle restless bodies or give gentle reminders that it is time to rest. Sometimes 10 minutes is enough, sometimes it takes longer.
And soon, Cohort 8 is fast asleep in their own way - on their back, side, stomach - all the way on the mat or halfway off.