Are you tired of the bed time antics? Do you turn into a cranky monster at Bed Time? Do you want a happier bed time for your children?
Bed time routines are one of those times in the day when everyone is tired, the children are tired, I am tired, your partner is tired, and quite often you feel like a single parent even if you aren’t.
The key to unlock happiness at bed time is “routine”. This is ever so important if your partner works shift work, if you rely of friends or family to help out on occasions at night, or even want your partner to be able to help out at bed time.
At bed time tonight, sit down with a piece of paper and write down your bed time routine. Then write down all the questions and antics that your children try to delay bedtime with. I also want you to “time” how long this process takes once the light is out.
This is your starting point for your new routine. You need to take into consideration what you wrote on your piece of paper.
Your routine might look a little like this: quiet activity or helping with dinner, dinner, bath, quiet activity, (snack if tea is early), teeth, drink of water, toilet, 2x stories, bed, lights out.
Quiet activities may include: puzzles, Lego, construction, train track, dolls etc. Not riding bikes, jumping on the trampoline, nor wrestles with dad. Physical activity and boy stress play is very valuable but not a part of a happy bed time routine.
Once you have decided what you can manage and what you want to achieve, get the camera out, take a photo of each step and have the children in the photos. Take a photo of some quiet activities that your children enjoy and print these out. About ½ the size of a standard photo. Buy some cardboard and cut it in two, length ways. Stick it together so you have a long piece of card. If you are able to laminate it at this stage it will last a lot longer. Laminate your photos too, if you can with a label underneath. You can get velcro dots from your local supermarket.
Now you are ready to start your happy bed time routine.
Step 1: Display the routine in the children’s room or kitchen.
Step 2: Add all your steps so that the line is full including specific quite activity. The velcro will allow your children to take them off when each step is done.
Step 3: After each step, go back to the list to see what is next. The children need to see each step to better process and acknowledge the process.
Step 4: Ensure that you show others how this works and set it up before you leave for the evening.
If this is something you really want to achieve a “Happy Bedtime Routine” we are happy to help, advise, laminate, print, etc. Then you don’t have to be the “Cranky Monster” at bedtime. I guarantee after 1 week your bed time antics will be reduced if you do this every night. Let me know how you go. What to do when your child gets out of bed next week.