Just reading this title has me laughing as I picture you readers yelling through your screens at me in ridicule and doubt!!
After all, bedtime has all the makings for a perfect storm of chaos! You’re tired. They’re tired. They just did homework or bath time and want to play.
All you want to do is get on the darned couch and settle in to your next episode of Real Housewives of No Place I Care About. While I might question your choice of TV preferences, I do understand.
I believe that bedtime can be less stress on all of you. Here are a few hints:
Dim the Lights
Yes, your partner might get the wrong idea but there will be time enough for THAT later, if you so choose. What I am talking about here is literally dimming the lights of your home about an hour before bedtime.
If it’s summer and still light out, pull down the shades.
Dim lighting will start to cue the body’s tendency to relax.
Lower the Volume
Again, you are setting the tone for your child to sleep. An hour before bedtime, lower the volume of all electronics if they are on and lower your own volume as you talk to your child.
Establish a Routine
As you get to know me, you’re going to hear this from me over and over: Kids do well with routine, repetition, and tradition. Doing the same thing at the same time increases their chance for success.
If they know what’s coming,
it will become habit.
it will become habit.
Create a routine that is realistic for you to follow. Trying to cram in too many things into one specific time frame is rough on all of you.
As much as you might want to bathe, make the lunches, read the story, sing the song, and catch up on the day, there isn’t time for all of that.
Keep the bedtime routine simple with the emphasis on calming and nurturing activities.
Doing the same things, in the same order, with the same expectations each night will help all of you develop a bedtime ritual that meets your needs.
For the Little Ones, Sometimes Bedtime and Bath time Don’t Mix
This one might hurt a little bit. As much as you might like the idea of bath time and bedtime going hand in hand, it might be setting your child up for failure.
Little kids often love the bath. They play in the water, get silly, have fun, and get all good and activated.
That’s right when we adults like to say “Ok now, settle down. It’s time for bed”.
Just when the fun is starting, they’re thinking. If your child loves (or hates!) the bath, it is a time when their energy will increase.
Best to have bath time taken care of at least an hour before bedtime.
Even Routines Do Well With Reminders
Increase your chances of success by preparing your child for the transition to bedtime.
As you dim the lights, and lower the volume, start to cue your child with reminders that bedtime is soon.
Ask what book they are going to want to read or what song they might want to sing.
Cue them to clean up sooner into that time. Have just one toy out by the time bedtime routines start. It will help you avoid control battles before bedtime.
Reminders throughout that hour remind the child that bedtime routines and expectations are coming up. Children transition better with reminders.
Talk with excitement about bedtime (you won’t even be faking it, right?) and how you’re looking forward to quiet time together.
Need more tips? Still a doubter? Find me at my website to learn more.