The Bedtime Ritual July 21 2014

It is now, as I sit at my laptop at 11:08pm that I find myself with a laptop in one hand and a wired toddler, awake in the other: playing a game and totally fighting sleep.

I wonder if the urge to fight sleep and going to bed stems across all children, especially during those spurts of growth and activity where their tiny brains cant fight with that little bit of sleepy dopamine trying to help them drift off to sleep...

Which leads me to this post: Bedtime rituals.

Now with our second child, (who has always been more of a cat-napper and lighter sleeper in general anyway) the toddler years have proven that she is way more sensitive to any factors leading her to be a "nightful waker" and in comparison to myself and older sister, a poor sleeper; always needing more night nursing sessions, cuddles, etc-- the whole nine yards.

We usually have bed time ritual that consists of: giving daddy hugs and night nights, brushing of teeth and going to the potty, usually followed by some lavender essential oil & books in bed with both of our girls (ages 2 &4).
This is usually sufficient enough to settle them down and get ready for sleep but at this age for the almost 2 year old, there is too much to play with and too much to do, especially when daddy is in the other room (usually doing his nightly computer work). We are currently in a funk/attachment spell and recently she does not want to go to sleep unless everyone in our family is in the same bed/room at the same time.   :-/

Nights are now a crap shoot. I suppose our lifestyle somewhat predicts this but good golly, our first was such a good sleeper I guess I got spoiled with a heavy sleeper who ALWAYS slept through the night!

 I love being in the moment and spending time with her alone while she is this age but I hate it for everyone involved when she is obviously tired but insists on being awake and the impact that I can predict for tomorrow!

So that leads me to my questions for you and your experiences and input.

1. What do you do to make bedtime more consistently successful for your little ones, especially if you have a "poor sleeper"?

2. Which factors do you find most impact whether or not your child sleeps through the night/goes to bed easily?

3. How do you makes changes in your rituals? (especially in regards to bedtime: like changing rooms, beds or general sleeping arrangements?)

4. How and how often do you indulge their night wakefulness, and let them stay up "past bedtime" and learn, grow, play, etc since their brains are obviously working overtime anyway?