The Essentials: Creating The Perfect Bedtime Routine
November 5, 2018
When you become a parent, you quickly realize how much free time you used to have to do anything your heart desired. At some point in this new role, you almost start craving those lost times.
What if I told you there’s a way to get those moments back?
Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible until I put it to the test. It’s been almost two months since we’ve implemented a new bedtime routine, and it’s been quite rewarding.
If I told you the time our boys were going to bed prior to the new school year, you’d probably consider me a terrible parent. Oh, and their bed routine wasn’t healthy either.
What Bedtime Used To Be
The boys would wait up until my husband arrived so they could have dinner and enjoy time with him. The downside was we were both too exhausted to entertain them and we’d hand them our cell phones before bed. They would each tire themselves out watching Blippi and Ryan’s ToyReview.
I remember monitoring whatever they were watching from my shoulder before bed and that was my last good deed for the day.
I know it was terrible, right?
For some, this bedtime routine sounds normal, but for me, it never felt that way. I never wanted my kids to depend on technology to go to sleep, but it was doing two things for me: 1) it gave me time with my husband and 2) it gave me time for myself.
Our boys weren’t getting enough sleep at night and they were living an unhealthy lifestyle — and so was I. Eating after 6 pm wasn’t helping me shed the pregnancy weight, it was adding extra.
The boys staying up at night added something else to the equation: less sleep for me. The light of the cell phones wouldn’t tired them out immediately, it would keep them awake longer. Unlike TV shows or movies, there isn’t a limit to the amount of YouTube videos you can watch in one sitting. Oh, and the boys were loving it.
Me? Not so much.
I knew there was something I could do. So, I whipped out my notepad and started jotting down ways to keep the boys busy throughout the day.
Planning Some Fun
As parents, we do a lot of planning. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our everyday life with kids. Planning some time during the day to play with your kids is key.
From trips to local playgrounds to indoor activities, the boys have been loving it. Just the other day, we took out our Nerf guns and started an all-out war against each other. Of course, the boys teamed up on me, and I protected the baby from getting hit. It was therapeutic for all of us.
My husband is my inspiration. Despite how tired he might feel, he comes into our home ready to take the boys on — and the baby if I have a deadline or just feeling exhausted.
It’s quite impressive how much energy he has after a day at the office.
5 Tricks For A Rewarding Bedtime Schedule
There was a time that I would yell at my kids to go to sleep, then yell at them to wake up. I was tired and felt overworked. The truth is, I was overworking myself for no reason. Unfortunately, my family would feel the results.
I’ll admit it, I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around. Just like it didn’t feel right for my kids to fall asleep with technology, it never felt right to yell at them that much.
I like putting myself in my kids’ shoes, and it wasn’t helping them. In fact, I was hurting them emotionally. I don’t want them to ever think it’s okay to be yelled at all the time — that’s just not the best way to communicate your emotions.
Below are five tricks I use on the kids to get them into bed earlier than ever:
1. Plan for an early dinner. With a preschooler and a school-aged child, you need to be strategic. Our boys love eating. We’ve been told that they eat well on their own for their age. Although we have snacks throughout the day, we do our best to stick to a 4 pm dinner schedule. Sometimes, I’ll even throw in dessert. They love it!
Moving it up two hours has helped prevent bedwetting for our two-year-old, and gives them enough time to finish their plates and relax before a bath.
2. Have playtime before a bath.
The boys can get a little rough when they’re tired. In between the play fighting and pretending to be superheroes, someone gets hurt. That’s typically when 6 pm rolls around and I’m running a warm bath for them. This gets them excited for bedtime.
3. Choose awesome pajamas.
Most of our boys’ pajamas are of Batman. They love having similar ones and dressing alike. It helps with fighting over certain pajamas. I let them pick the ones they want to wear for the night. It makes them feel independent and gives me a break while I care for their baby sister.
4. Read enough books.
Bedtime reading has been such a joy for us. I will admit, some nights I can barely get through the first book, but I do it for the kids.
While reading each like, I try to be as animated as possible — like the shows they love on YouTube, and it works!
The boys love when we ask them questions as well. It’s always interesting to hear their responses as to what they think will happen next.
5. Keep silence all around.
No technology use before bed. Quiet time is a blessing for the boys. Since it doesn’t happen often, it’s a treat for them to be able to rest and appreciate the stillness of the night.
It’s quite relaxing for me as well. Sometimes I take a nap while the kids sleep.
After implementing this bedtime routine, I’ve noticed I feel more relaxed, the kids get more sleep and my husband gets to walk into our home without thinking he has to take on the kids for me. I value his hard work and how much he’s willing to help me after a long day, but I rather enjoy time with him. Whether it’s talking about our day or catching up on our shows, it’s just us. Adult conversations and cuddles on the couch.
It makes me fall more in love with this life we’ve created instead of feeling overwhelmed all the time.
Do you know anyone who’s looking to improve their kids’ bedtime routine? Share this post with them!
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