How many nights have you spent more time getting your children to bed than any other activity in your day? Is your bedtime routine failing you? We all go through times when our children fight bedtime and are hell on wheels. By the end of the day we are exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. Look, I get it, it’s the worst when you are tired, they are tired and you just want to shut the door and say peace out! Here is how we do bedtime without going completely nuts and it has been pretty good to us for 6 years now.
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Here is our no fail bedtime routine for even our most stubborn child
Rethink YOUR attitude towards bedtime.
This is the key to having a stress free bedtime routine. It starts with you! At the end of the day we have been used all up and are ready to just get our children in bed and call it a day. But sometimes just changing that way of thinking into something positive can help you cherish that end of the night time. I know on days I am really struggling I try to remember this is not going to last forever. My babies will not want me putting them to bed and spending that precious time with them in god only knows how many years. Treat this time as a way to relax together and bond. Put all the cranky, negative interactions or feelings you might have had throughout a stressful day and use bedtime as a way to reconnect with your child. Now that your mind is clear and positive lets move on.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Keep your bedtime routine consistent. Even if you are on vacation it is important to try to do the same general bedtime routine. Times can vary a bit but it helps to have your children know what to expect at the end of the day. Transitions and new places can be tough for little ones so when they know this is what is going to happen bedtime will be much smoother. I personally like to use a sound machine (this is the one we use) to keep that comforting, familiar sound consistent with my children’s bedtime routine. We carry one with us when we travel or you can use an app on your phone. One of my friends who travels frequently also swears by this.
Have a clean room.
Kids are like mini tornados a lot of the time. I notice this most at the end of the day when all I want is to not have to put away a million toys and yet there they are. We have our children clean up their rooms before bedtime every night. When their rooms are a disaster we all feel really overwhelmed by their rooms. It’s best to do this after dinner before bath time so the clean up, which always seems to be fought, isn’t part of the calm down time before bed. I sometimes have to resort to setting a timer so they hustle to get it done. I don’t want it to be some long drawn out thing.
Spend time in their bedroom.
After my children have eaten dinner, taken baths, brushed teeth and played a bit we head into their room. We don’t make them hop right into bed. I always noticed when they have more time to relax and play in their rooms before bedtime they seem to transition to their beds much easier. It’s not quite as shocking (even though it happens every night, bedtime always seems to be a surprise, ha!). This might sound like a contradiction to my tip above but hear me out. If you can find one little before bed activity like a small puzzle, playing dolls or building legos they get some of their energy out. This is not a free for all so keep them focused on one activity. When my kids were younger I would have a basket (I loved this one) I only brought out at bedtime for them to play with. It was perfect because it was brand new from not being played with all day and easily cleaned up and put away.
Read books and sing songs.
A huge part of our bedtime routine is reading and singing songs. My children will lay in bed while I read or tell them a story. I let them each pick a book and a song that they want me to read and sing. With the girls I will usually rub their arms or legs or hug them when I sing their song. With Ace I can usually snuggle him since I can lay in his bed with him but the girls are in loft beds so it’s harder. This is not only a special time for them but for me too. It just brings me back to why I am a Mom. My goal is to nurture and raise good people. I want my children to know that being loved and cared about is important and deserving. This is the perfect time to show them that little extra love and time. I want them to feel that even after a crazy day we can have a really relaxing transition to bedtime.
End on a positive note.
When we have crazy, hectic bedtimes it can feel like bedtime is more negative than positive. It’s full of crying, whining, bargaining and more whining (maybe even from Mom). When you go through a quiet, calm routine and end it with some positive talk you can guarantee a happy goodnight. Some easy ways to keep it positive is talk about something fun you are going to do the next day (shoutout to my husband for coming up with this one), saying prayers (thanking God for all we have), talking about what we are grateful for, and if you need to keep it simple a hug and a kiss telling your child what a good person they are will do the trick.
I hope these tips help turn your bedtime routine into a more peaceful for your family. I know this might not be what works for every child but if you stay consistent and help your child get into a routine it really is so great when it starts to work. And remember it might take sometime. We have been doing almost the exact same routine since our children were babies so they are used to it.
If you have anymore great bedtime routine tips I would love to hear them, comment down below! I am sure other Mommies out there are willing to try anything to help have a stress free bedtime routine too.