Recently I’ve been talking to friends and fellow bloggers about morning and evening routine. As William hit 12 months and beyond, we started wondering how it worked in other peoples homes. It’s quite interesting to see the range of answers I received and how interested people were in my morning and evening routine too!
In this case there’s definitely no right or wrong – it’s very much about finding what works for you. But I think there’s always a little bit of room for improvement, and if you’re struggling with something, looking at how other parents are doing it might give some ideas or tips. So with that in mind, I’m sharing what personally works for us.
Morning Routine with a 12 month old
Wake up: 5:30am to 7:30am
This is something we struggle with. We recently bought the Gro Blackout Blinds which have suckers which stick to the window (but it needs to be clean or it falls down!) and this has helped move our wakeup average from about 6am to 7am as William is very light sensitive. With summer coming, this issue is really going to start affecting a lot of mums and dads I think! Since William sleeps in our bedroom still, an early wake up time means we’re all up.
If he wakes up earlier than 6am we bring him into the bed and he usually nods off again for another hour, although some days are just very early starts and we’ve not found any way to guarantee a lie-in!
He then plays in his play pen by himself until breakfast.
Breakfast: 8am to 8:30am
Every day for breakfast William has 1 to 1.5 Weetabix (depending on how hungry he is and what our plans for the day are) and usually half a banana or tangerine. We give him 8oz of whole milk with his breakfast, half of which is used on the Weetabix and the other half he has in his bottle. We prefer to give this warm (40seconds in the microwave), but as we’re planning on traveling quite a bit this summer we’re trying to get him used to cold milk and cold breakfast so we can be more flexible with breakfast at hotels or on the go. He’s not particularly impressed with that right now.
Whilst he can hold a spoon and will put it in food from a bowl and up to his mouth, most of the food still tends to end up on the floor, on his face, in his hands, in the dogs mouth (yes, he will offer the spoon to the dog!) etc. so we still spoon feed him breakfast simply because it’s the easiest way to guarantee he’s actually getting enough food in his belly.
We use the Cosatto Noodle Super High Chair (so many great designs!), Munchkin suction bowls and the Munchkin soft tip spoons. For drinking, he’s using the Tommee Tippee first sippee cup, and still takes milk from his Tommee Tippee bottles.
Get Dressed: After Breakfast
I always leave getting dressed until after breakfast purely for practical reasons – he’s a messy eater! After breakfast we get cleaned up and get dressed.
Playtime: 9am to 10am
He plays for about an hour after breakfast and getting dressed. At 12 months old his favourite toy is his stacking ring, as well as his fake mobile phone. We also have him this Vtech Standing Activity Centre, which he likes – although we can never find the phone part of it as he’s always running off and hiding it! Cardboard boxes and hairbrushes are also big hits, as well as the cat, of course.
Around 9:30am to 10am depending on how we’re doing for the day and what time he woke up, he’ll go down for a 40-60 minute nap. He will only do this in his bouncer at the moment. We’ve been using the Bjorn Bliss Bouncer since he was 6 months old and it is the only way we’ve ever managed to get him to nap in the day. It’s expensive, but since we have such a big baby, we needed one that was rated for higher weights.
The Bjorn is rated up to around 30lbs or from 0 to 2 years and actually turns inside out to double as a seat for toddlers, so since we knew it would last a few years we felt better about the price. Honestly now I don’t know what I’d do without it, as he is a very fussy napper. We don’t currently have a TV in the room but we do often play Little Baby Bum on YouTube which tends to send him to sleep quite quickly. If we’re going out somewhere for the day, he will sleep in his car seat, so this is an ideal time for us to head off and fit the nap into the driving time.
My husband leaves for work at 10am, so this also fits in well with our personal schedule and gives my husband the maximum time to spend with the family in the morning. The day then obviously varies depending on what’s going on!
The evening routine with a 12 month old
At my last 9 month update I was still struggling with getting William to sleep at night. I’m finally glad to report that at 12 months he’s going to sleep by himself in his cot without any rocking or soothing needing. Result!
Our bedtime routine consists of:
Dinner: 6 to 6:30pm
This is when my husband gets home from work and we all sit down at the dinner table together. William is a big eater and very keen to try just about anything that’s put in front of him, whether it’s fruit and vegetables, meat, mexican food, curries, cats, mud, whatever…. the one thing I’ve never had is a fussy eater. At 12 months he is still using his hands for dinner and gets a ridiculous amount of food on the floor. Good thing we have a dog, who has developed a weird taste for apples and strawberries. Wonder how that happened.
Bath or Books: 7pm
We give him a bath three times a week with more if needed if he’s been swimming or managed to get especially dirty (or I’ve given him a yoghurt…). I know some people bath every night, but we’ve never found it necessary. He has quite sensitive skin so I’m very careful about washing him too often or using too many products. I’ve written about our bath time routine before, and this has worked for us solidly since he was a newborn. The only changes we’ve made are more toys, more splashing, and a lot more water on the floor!
Bedtime: 7:30 to 8pm
Some people have suggested that 8pm is very late for a 12 month old to be going to bed, but we experimented with a wide range of times and this is what suits him. I think as parents it can be quite nerve wracking when everyone is telling you different things and you’re wondering am I doing this wrong? I used to get a lot of anxiety when comparing myself to what all my friends, family and folks online were saying, but I managed to ease off on myself and realize that he’s a unique individual – as we all are – and I need to be flexible and work to what he’s telling me, not what other people are telling me. If he’s put down at 8pm, he sleeps within 5 to 10 minutes and usually sleeps through (unless he’s feeling unwell or teething) until 5:30 to 6am the next day.
For bed he wears a long or short onesie depending on the temperature and a sleep sack. I don’t use any blankets or pillows in his cot still. We are still using our angelcare breathing monitor, which has really helped with my anxiety over the last year.
We experimented with both an earlier and later bed time to try and increase that early morning start, but unfortunately nothing worked, and resulted in a poorer sleep and crankier baby.
So that’s the routine that is working for us at the moment. I’m always curious as to how other mums are doing it, so if you have any comments or would like to share what’s worked for you, do let me know! I do think it’s important that we all just remain flexible and adjust to our own little individuals, but at the same time, getting some hints, tips and product recommendations from other mums has really helped me over the last year, so I hope this has helped you too.