I have had several conversations recently centered around kid’s bedtime routines and what a LONG and often stressful thing it can be. Both parents and kids are worn out by this time and there always seems to be the tension of the adults wanting to rush through it so they can finally relax and then the kids pulling out every stall tactic in the book to not have to go to bed.
I don’t think there is any “right” way to do bedtime with little kids, but we have developed a rhythm over the last year or so that works pretty well for us…most nights :) Ironically as I’m typing this, both of my kids are yelling and carrying on in their room well after an hour since we left their room. Ha!
I share this in hopes that if you feel overwhelmed and exhausted when it comes to your kids bedtime routine, you can take away something helpful that is *currently working well for us. We aim to have lights out and mom and dad leaving their room at 7:45 so in order for us to achieve that, we have to start the bedtime process no later than 7:00. Most nights for us look like this:
7:00 PM- Bath time. Baths are typically pretty quick but on the nights when my sanity is wearing (ha!), I put them in the bath at 6:30, I let them play for a solid 20 minutes or until they want to get out.
7:10 PM- Jammies on. Most nights we just pick out their pajamas for them but then of course we have an opinionated 3 year old who really cares about making those kind of decisions ;)
7:15 PM-Hair brushed and teeth brushed. It has been a journey with Quint in brushing his teeth (literally there were some nights we just had to lay him on the ground and hold his arms down to get the toothbrush in his mouth! Fortunately, he seems to be coming around to dental hygiene :)
7:20 PM- reading time with a book (or 5!) and water bottles filled with fresh water. On the nights we are doing a later than normal bedtime, we skip reading. They pretty much know this and don’t put up too much of a stink when we don’t read. We also don’t let Quint take his water into his crib anymore because he’s somehow managed to open the bottle and spill it everywhere one to many times. Sutton keeps her’s next to her bed.
7:30 PM- In bed for cuddles, back scratches and prayers. Sutton really looks forward to this and gets upset if we rush through this on the nights we get a late start to bedtime. I have to remind myself when I’m exhausted and just ready to go to sleep myself of what a sweet time this is to get to cuddle with her. We always ask the kids if they want to pray and its about 50/50 if they want to. We always pray over them (for their future, their friends, their spouses and their salvation) and I love that they get to hear us praying these things for them.
7:45 PM- Hugs, kisses and gobbles (they ask for all threeee every night), sound machine on and lights out.
Once we leave the room for the night, we rarely go back in there unless its necessary. Our kids also know that they are expected to stay in their beds until it’s time to get up in the morning. We use a toddler alarm clock (I wrote a blog about that here) that we have been using since Sutton was 2.5 when we transitioned her to a toddler bed and she really does stay in her bed till the dog’s ball turns green pretty much every morning. Quint is still in a crib but they have always shared a room and he seems to understand the concept of the alarm clock so hopefully when he’s in a bed, he will have a head start on knowing to stay put.
The video monitor we use (nest cam) allows us to talk to the kids so if they are getting too rowdy or doing something they shouldn’t be, we can chat with them without having to go into their rooms.
So, that’s what we do! I’d love to know if you have a great tip or practice you do to make bedtime run smoothly for your family!
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