End the frustrated parents and overtired kids battle once a for all. Children thrive on routines. Having a bedtime routine is really important for consistent evenings and it decreases the tantrums and attitude that comes along with announcing bedtime. I have 2 children and we have the same routine for each one, and it's remained the same since my oldest was 2 years old. We have had such success with this routine, I thought I would share it with you.
We rarely have that conversation for that extra glass of water and extra snuggle. Not that I mind giving those away, I just really need my mommy time when the kids fall asleep. That's why it is really important for me to have a solid bedtime routine.
This routine really does eliminate the extra:
- Tears (parents and toddlers)
- Running Away (from parents)
Before we get to the actual bedtime portion of it, I want to tell you about our actual day because if your day starts 3 hours after ours or 2 hours before ours, then your bedtime routine may look a lot different. I just want to level with you, mom to mom, what goes on in my household during the day because our day certainly impacts bedtime.
I also want to state that even though this routine works wonders for us, there are the rare evenings that all hell breaks loose and our regular routine doesn't fly.
What Our Day Looks Like
I do have a child that goes to kindergarten at 8 am for a couple of hours so our day tends to start pretty early. I for one get up an hour before my kids so I can get my blogging duties out of the way and spend the day with my full attention on the kids.
I wake up my kids at 6:45 and get their day started. We leave the house at 7:30 for school and I bring both kids with me to the front door of the school to drop my oldest off for 8 am. (We have only been late 4 times in 4 months and I am damn proud of that!)
While my kindergartener is at school I entertain my toddler with finger painting, homemade playdough, colouring, and other various arts and craft activities. We have so much fun together and I really cherish this time to spend with just the 2 of us. We only have a few short hours to get our bonding on and then we drive over to school to pick up my Kindergartener.
After Kindergarten, my 5-year-old is usually awful tired, so I make sure there is no screen time after school, at least not until after lunch.
I usually spend some time catching up on housework while the kids run wild after lunch. I get pretty exhausted by 2 pm!
This is why I call myself tiredmom supermom! I try my best to be the best momma but I'm always SO TIRED! Read my open letter titled dear tired momma here.
We spend our afternoons reading and writing and then around 2 pm I let the kids watch some TV or play with the Ipad or the ever-popular Nintendo DS that my 5-year-old has a tough time putting down most days.
I usually start dinner at 4 and we eat by 5:30 pm.
The Bedtime Routine
When our day goes to the standard outline I wrote about previously, our nighttime routine seems to go pretty smoothly. If there was a nap somewhere in the afternoon, then I can guarantee that all hell will break loose and my Toddler will be up till 10 pm and end up sleeping in my bed all night.
at 5:30 pm we eat our dinner and then the children play until bathtime at 6:30.
We have a bath every second night, if there is no bath that night, I'll spend extra time reading and writing with my 5-year-old while my toddler colors next to us.
After bath or reading time, I get pretty strict with the timeline of the evening.
By 7:30 both kids MUST have their pj's on and be sitting at the table eating a bedtime snack.
I know what you're thinking, they just ate dinner, how can they be hungry for a snack already? Well believe it, they are food monsters!! Love them, but man do they eat a ton.
Bedtime snack at our house includes anything from toast with butter, waffles with a tiny amount of jam, oatmeal, or a bowl of cereal. I let the kids choose their own cereal at the store so most of their stuff is full of sugar. I gave up on the healthy cereal battle many years ago because my husband was not on my side on this one.
After snack, it's time to brush those sugar bugs out of their teeth. We have so many different options of toothpaste to choose from that it is fun for them to pick a paste and brush their teeth. This used to be a big struggle, but I found having various characters of toothpaste available really helps...even if it is the same toothpaste flavor in each one. Super Mario seems to win most of the time though. Again, a battle I will not fight if it gets the kids brushing without a struggle.
After brushing their teeth I get my Kindergartner to pick out his clothes for the next day and my husband and I split the next portion of the routine because the kids are now in their own rooms. Before they had their own rooms, we just had one of us do the routine in their bedroom and it took the same amount of time.
Getting Them To Sleep
My toddler needs a little extra attention during the bedtime process because he is still small and that's ok.
When it's time to go to bed, we close the bedroom door and go to the book bin - yes we use a bin because our shelf broke and I don't mind this solution- and he will pick out a book. His absolute favorite book is called "Hush Little Puppy". If he isn't in the mood for Hush Little Puppy, we read a "series" of Paw Patrol board books that take 1 minute per book because there are 4 words per page. Regardless of which book or books we read, as soon as the story is over my toddler has no issues putting the book right back where he found it, turning on his Marshall nightlight and running off his bedroom light. He crawls into bed and requests a song. I sing only 2 songs at bedtime because if I have too many options for songs it becomes complicated when asking him to choose a song. I sing "You Are My Sunshine" or "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star".
I only sing each song 3 times. Once I've sung each one 3 times, I stop singing and sit in silence.
It usually takes less than 5 minutes after the last song and my little dude is snoring away.
I find that the longer I sing, the longer he stays awake. And there are definitely times that he falls asleep while I am singing my rounds but often times he needs complete silence to fall asleep.
Sneaking out the bedroom is a whole different story. We have some super squeaky floors in his room and the squeaks are unavoidable when sneaking out. I've done the bum scootch, the hop to the door, the army crawl and more creative things just to get out of that room without waking him up. It's pretty funny when my husband does it because watching a grown man scootch across the floor on his bum into the hallway while closing the door is a pretty funny sight.
We usually have both kids asleep by 8:30 pm.
I usually get about an hour or so to blog, or watch a tv show before I conk out for the night too!