Everyone’s tired. It’s the end of the day and you are hoping
for just a few minutes to yourself before you collapse.
But, your child has just gotten out of bed for the third time
and your 7:30 goal flew out the window about 45 minutes ago.
A solid bedtime routine is such a blessing for parents and child.
This was one area where my hubby and I agreed entirely and it has
earned its weight in gold.
“I can’t believe your children just go to bed.” We heard this so many times over
So, to help with this routine, I have a few ideas for you.
First, sketch out your late afternoon/evening components.
Ok, now consider what could be an obstacle to a steady bedtime.
Rushing through the routine.
Child not wanting to go to bed.
Stalling and dragging it out.
Getting up after lights out.
Take a look at your routine and see where you can
improve the flow.
Do you have a meal plan so that dinner is not such a struggle or late?
Can you child bathe while you start the meal prep?
Can you lay the jammies and books out ahead of time so everything is ready?
A few helpful hints….
**Use the skill of “ talking in pictures”
Young children live a world of imagination and
every mom knows how hard it is to yank them out
of that world to brush their teeth or come to dinner.
Instead of “Come brush your teeth”,
you could say “Let’s steer those horses into their
barn and give them a carrot to clean their teeth.”
or “Can you hop like a bunny all the way into the bathroom?”
or use whatever they are currently “playing” as a starting place for
**Save the story till all is done.
Have them do all the readiness before the stories.
“Once you are ready and in bed, storytime will begin.”
Nothing got my kids more motivated!If they began to get silly
or stall, then I would have to let them know they were taking that
time out of the reading time. (this depends on age of course)
**Allow enough time to relax.
Make sure dinner is finished with enough time to
have some fun after. Whether you play games together,
take a walk or just let the children play, it burns off that last
bit of energy before bedtime.
**Create boundaries around how many stories you will read.
Choose 2 or 3 or whatever feels good. This becomes part of the
rhythm- stick to it.
**Stick to bed time.
I still make sure my girls start getting ready for bed around 7:30!
They have consistently gone to bed before 8pm and only recently have we
extended it just a bit. 10-12 hours of sleep is required for young children and mine
still sleep an average of 11 each night. (They are very healthy and are rarely sick)
Then refine your routine as you work out what works and what does not.
Soon, your child will just know that this is “the way you do it” and stop
trying to test your boundaries.
I would love any comments or questions on this topic. Please post below.