Does your child have a hard time falling asleep at bed time?
Kids who don’t have a regular routine before going to bed usually fight it and don’t settle down. This is frustrating. It’s hard to enjoy our evenings when we are ready to rest and our kids are bouncing off the walls.
It’s also hard for restless kids to stay in their room. They need another drink, must go to the toilet for the tenth time, they heard a noise and there is one more question to ask.
Instead of laying their head on the pillow they turn into a monkey and start jumping around. And then like all silly little monkeys they fall off the bed and bump their head. They start to cry and tired momma tucks them in for the hundredth time.
I’m very familiar with bedtime battles. There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to go hide somewhere in my house where they can’t find me. My tired body and soul sometimes just needs a restful night on the couch with no disruptions.
I’m learning that bedtime doesn’t have to be this way. I mostly have good nights but there are still nights that my rascals will not settle down.
When a step by step action plan is in place for kids they tend to cooperate better. They know what is needed to get to the next thing.
I have discovered that it’s crucial to create a sustainable bedtime routine. Preparing kids for bedtime makes the world of difference. I’ve created a routine that our whole family can enjoy together. It’s a sacred time for us to connect.
It’s important to provide an atmosphere before bedtime that reflects a quiet and restful place. It’s not a time for wrestling, throwing balls, or running around. And for most kids playing computer games or watching an action movie is more stimulating then calming.
Instead, quiet music and lights dimmed is an obvious clue for them to settle down.
Kids need consistent and recognizable clues that they can connect with. I like to set a stage for my kids that allows them to have a peaceful experience.
Routines are more successful when there is a transition that happens from an active activity to a quiet time. For example, we can’t expect a child to go straight to bed and fall asleep after jumping on the trampoline. Feeding kids before bed doesn’t mix well either. Food fuels the body and gives it energy.
This is what we do –
After dinner, we brush our teeth, take a bath, put on our pajamas, get our things ready for the next day, and feed the animals.
When that is done, we read books to our children or we watch a family show that is fun but not over stimulating. We love to snuggle on our couch as we talk about our day. We end in prayer.
Our kids get their last drink and go potty one last time.
We strive to get the kids down early enough so that they can have time to do their own thing in their room before heads on pillows.
My son has a few books that he likes to read and some Lego characters that he plays with. My daughter listens to quiet music and colors. Sometimes she organizes her room.
We give them time to do this because it is fuel for their soul and it slows them down. They fall asleep with ease when we tell them it’s time to put heads on pillows. We give them a five-minute warning to finish up. We tuck them in, they get one last kiss and a hug.
Every family must find the things that they like to do that is calming and helps everyone end their day on a good note. It’s so important to be consistent so that kids know what to expect. Kids get anxious when there is no routine in place.
Keep in mind that any new routine takes time to get used to. In time kids learn to expect it and look forward to it. I like to think that everything we do with our kids is building memories and rituals that they will pass on to their kids.
What does your bedtime routine look like?