How To Enjoy A Night Out & Bend Sleep Schedules!
Calling all Type A scheduled Mamas!!! 😄 It’s time to let go of your tightly gripped bedtimes and enjoy a night out with the family! Seriously!! Bending the rules every now and then is totally fine. In fact, it’s part of reaping the benefits of a great sleeper!
Before I begin working with a family I typically hear thoughts like…
“Well, Becca, I just not a schedule person and I really don’t want to be tied down to a strict bedtime. I want to be able to be flexible!.”
“My family has a weekly dinner and we really don’t want to miss it. How could we sleep train and still be able to attend these?”
I have to say that before I had kids I definitely thought I would be like that first parent. (Don’t we all say things before having kids?!) I would say things like, “Oh, I’m just going to bring my kid with me and we’re going to do the same things we do now. It’s not going to be that big of a deal, I mean, our child will be on our schedule.”
Oh my gosh!🤦🏼♀️ I was so naive!
It didn’t take me very long to understand that not only was that impossible, it was terrible for my baby!!
So now I totally laugh and just give a little side eye when I hear about parents who are expecting their first child say things like that. It’s okay, everyone needs a learning curve!
But today, let’s celebrate your great sleeper and make a PLAN for bending the rules to enjoy a night out!
ENJOYING A DATE NIGHT OUT:
First of all, get a babysitter who you are confident will do what you ask!! Share with them in great detail how you do your bedtime routine and specifically share how baby can fall asleep independently!! Baby will know exactly what to do because you’ve trained them bedtime routine equals going to bed!!
Or, maybe your’e like me who prefers to live a double life?! I don’t know why, but I just really love bedtime with our girls. So Chad and I prefer to put the girls down and then leave a monitor with a sitter! I totally feel like I’m living this double life and our girls never know!!
It’s so freeing that we can enjoy a date night out without having to worry about anyone calling and asking us to come home quickly so we can rock the baby back to sleep. It’s so amazing! Freedom really does come with being consistent.
STAYING LATE AT A FRIEND’S HOUSE
If you’ve been invited over for dinner with friends or family, it IS possible to stay late and enjoy the evening with everyone! No more having to dine + dash!
Before you go, ask the friends or family members if you can bring a pack ‘n play to set up in a quiet, dark space. Maybe a closet? Guest room? A room where you can set up the SlumberPod? I bet they’ll say yes! So when you’re at their home for dinner, simply slip away for bedtime routine! Do a sink bath or a wipe down, offer a feed for baby, put on PJs, read a quick book, say goodnight and lay down in the pack n play. Leave the room, and viola!! Baby goes to sleep! Pretty wonderful party trick!
Now, whenever you're ready to leave (hours later) simply go into the room and pick up your baby. Stick them in the carseat and drive home! When you arrive home pick them up, go into their room, say goodnight again, and they’ll go to sleep again!!
Sure, they may wake between this- but it was just a little interruption! Not a big deal, and you got to enjoy an evening with friends!! And baby slept!! Cheers!!
**hint-hint: tell your friends all about Little Z’s Sleep when your baby goes to bed so easily ;)
GOING OUT TO DINNER
Yes, sometimes you’ll be out past bedtime with baby wide awake! There are definitely times where you can take your kid out and go and enjoy these dinners together, and you might get home 30 minutes after bedtime! Here’s what I want you to do:
Skip the long bedtime.
Just do the essentials! Get home, wipe them down, put on PJs, offer a feed, turn the lights off and get them down for bed!
Have an older child who can communicate with you? Use my favorite phrase with them:
”Tonight we’re going to be a little flexible!”
On times or on nights where we have people over or we’re going out, and we’re not going to put them to bed right on the time I will tell my oldest, who’s 3.5, “Hey, you know what, tonight’s going to be a little bit flexible. We are going to get in the car, and we are going to drive to a restaurant, and we’re going to order food, and we’re going to hang out, and we’re going to talk and eat, and it’s going to be a lot of fun!! And then we’re going to come home and it’s going to be after your bedtime. So we are going to skip bath, and just brush our teeth, and put our PJs on, and we might even skip the book (because we had such a good time at the restaurant) because it’s getting late and we’re so tired! We’ll get into bed and go straight to sleep.”
And you know what? She loves these flexible nights! She understands why we skip her two favorite parts, bath and book. She can actually now start to call it out. She will start to ask us, “Hey mommy, daddy, is this a flexible night?” And I’m so proud of her for noticing a change in our schedule!
TRAVELING AT NIGHT
Leaving on a flight with your family that leaves at night? I totally understand we can’t be picky on these travel days, so really- the name of the game is survival! If you have an older child, communicate with them about how it’s going to be VERY flexible. You’ll be wearing PJs on an airplane, you can bring your blanket and your buddies, and you’ll even fall asleep on the airplane!
If you have a baby, you’ll literally do anything to get your little one to sleep on this night flight! **TIP: Ask the airline in advance if they have bassinets available!
Driving at night is also a survival game- as I really can’t guarantee your kiddo will sleep in the car at night as solid as at home. My older sister and her husband LOVE traveling at night, and their kids know the drill: bath, pjs, into the car. My husband and I? NOPE. Ya’ll can probably guess that I need a full night of sleep to travel well, so we don’t ever go that route! If you know you’re a night-owl and can be safe during those road hours, go for it!
ENJOY YOUR LIFE!
So, I will have to tell you that there is definitely times and places for bending the rules and being flexible; and being flexible comes with this freedom peace and freedom comes from all of the consistent work that you have done with your child. So again, whether you and I have worked together with your child’s sleep or you have DIY’d it and you have an incredible sleeper, or maybe you have one of those angel babies who sleeps 12 hours solid and you literally didn’t have to do anything…you’re super lucky! Enjoy these benefits of getting your baby out or getting your child in different situations and staying out a little bit later to enjoy life because you have to!
When your baby knows how to sleep, I don’t ever want you to feel like you’re in a bedtime jail!! You cannot be bound to rules and you cannot stress yourself out about sleep. I want to make sure that you are celebrating and enjoying all of the hard work that you have helped your child learn. Okay? So, my gift for you today is my Ultimate Babysitter Checklist because I told you I want you to go on a date night!
You can get my 6-page Babysitter Checklist for free HERE!!
Go enjoy bending the rules, ya’ll!!