Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bedtime Routines


Bedtime routines work

And could be the answer to end your bedtime battles. No matter what age your child is- a bedtime routine provides a positive way to end your child’s day.  The hope is that you and your child will look forward to this special time together each and every night to connect and reflect on the day you had- plan for the next wonderful day you are given.

What can you include in the bedtime routine? 
 This is what our routine looks like at our house for my 6 and 4 year olds:
  • Tubby time- or wash cloth bath on nights when we eliminate the bath
  •  Brush teeth
  • Get PJ’s on
  • 2 books- one for each child
  • Prayers
  •  Last call for water and potty break
  •  Lights Out
  •  Special story for those who nap
  •  Snuggle time with each boy individually- they usually get to ask 3 questions to end their day
  • Covers and Night Night time

What I have found is that when you fill your child’s need to be held, cuddled, and listened too- sleep happens very easily.  Our routine typically starts around 6:30 and can take from 30-45 minutes, so be sure to plan that accordingly with your child’s actual sleep time.  This is one of the secrets to a good night of sleep.  Parents who try to rush bedtime will find it will backfire on them and will end up being a longer process than they intended

Some last notes on creating the bedtime routine:
  • Give your child some choices: would you like to wear your Dora or Barbie jammies?   Do you want to put your pants on or mommy? Would you like to brush your teeth standing or sitting? Do you want to pick our story or daddy?  Would you like me to wash your left or right arm first?  Having fun and providing these simple choices will give your child the control they want, give you a child ready for bed with limits and boundaries everyone can live with-that’s a win-win bedtime routine. 
  • Keep it positive to help promote good thoughts- sweet dreams. 
  • If your child has a fear of the dark or monsters- use a night light, include a nightly room check for monsters, some people like to use a monster spray, and/or throw the bad dreams away.   Most of these strategies will work with your preschool aged child.  
  • Create a special thing that you do with your child.  It’s okay and actually great when mom and dad have their own little thing they do.   
  • As your child gets older, your snuggle time might be the time your child opens up to you to share some of his or her school wins and losses from the day.  She/he may clue you in on some life challenges they are experiencing.  You want to begin to open this form of communication now so when they are in the tween and teen years you already have this time and trust built with your child and they will want to share with you.  

Bedtime once upon a time ago -3 years ago to be exact- was a nightmare in our home.  It was the last thing I looked forward to- but now- I love it and can’t wait to have that special time with Connor and Bailey. 

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