Bedtime routines can be hard to implement, especially if you don’t know how they work in the first place. Thankfully, we learned how important routines are for young children and began to implement key things for our children early on when our first born was fighting bedtime as early 6 months old.
Our daughter has proven to be a trial blazer in our parenting, not just because she was the first born but because she had a strong will from the beginning. I couldn’t believe the things that she taught me as a parent, even though I had already had years of experience with a baby sister 12 years younger than me, and countless hours of baby sitting under my belt prior to becoming a mom.
Bedtime headaches were just one of those battles we fought from the beginning of our parenting, but thankfully, we didn’t fight long.
Bedtime Routines That Really Work
I don’t miss those evenings of chaos, endless items of things that are needed, the many trips to the bathroom and feeling like I was going to lose my mind from the never ending demands that happened just because it was time for bed.
When you have two people, you have two ideas of how to fix a problem. Often times, when the two people don’t sit down and talk though how to do something together, it can cause some issues in the relationship and dynamics of the house.
I remember when my husband and I first partnered up to work on the bedtime routines all those years ago, we both had our times of strength and weaknesses. We were able to help each other through the hard times, as we reminded each other about what we were trying to accomplish.
We were literally tag teaming it every night!
Cheering would go on when sleep was finally accomplished. Mind you, it was a quiet celebration because we didn’t want to undo what we worked so hard to accomplish.
The key is to have both of you on the same page, and agree on the plan of attack to training your child, or children to what you expect from them at bed time.
Do The Same Things Every Night
Doing the same thing every night, in the same way, is where the routine comes in and it is the key to making things work.
Do you want to read a book to your children every night for the rest of their preteen ages? Or do you want to play the same game each night?
For us, we like to have things that are different except for a few things: brushing teeth, changing clothes, going to the bathroom and praying as a family.
These are the things that we do routinely every night!
It works so well that even our puppies knew what ‘pray’ means when they were only 3 months old, as they would run upstairs and jump up on our boy’s bed for our family prayer.
You can decide what things that will become part of your routine each and every night. These are the things that you will keep the same thing, in the same order without fail.
Overcome the Obstacles
What challenges do you face each night with your child(ren)?
Fears have always been something that our children have had problems with growing up, but they only seem to magnify at night time. One of my favorite tips that I wish I had when my older children were younger was Monster Spray!
The fear of the dark was something that everyone of our children struggled with, so we have purchased our fair share of night lights. I love these lights because they are cheap, and easy to take with us when we travel.
Noise was also an obstacle they we dealt with, because our kids expected silence in the house or something, when they would go to sleep. We allowed 30 minutes of music, or audios to be listened to when it was bedtime, and that was one of the best things we ever did in creating a routine for our children.
Although, all of our family loves falling asleep to the sound of a fan.
Sometimes, my kids are restless or overtired and have a really hard time falling asleep (they get this from their mother). I love using Counting Sheep to help them relax and fall asleep faster.
In addition to creating our nightly routines, we also had to set predetermined consequences for disobedience that was outside of realistic needs.
Our children were made aware of what these consequences would be, and to help secure them in their minds, we would remind them of our expectations, as we tucked them in and kissed them goodnight.
Part of the consequences should always be praise the next morning if a child followed the routines well. The more praises a child gets for doing what is expected, the easier the routines will be solidified in their life.
Your children will be consistent if you are consistent in your part of the routines.
Often times, it is the parents that undo all the hard work that has been laid already. Giving in to request that aren’t realistic, like several drinks or having to use the bathroom more than normal.
Children know exactly how to manipulate their parents into doing what they desire them to do. This is where the tag team is so important. One parent can always see through this, but unless both parents are working with each other and yielding to each other, this circle of nighttime chaos will continue.
You will see that in just a week of being consistent, your bedtime routines will become joyful and a time that your kids look forward to each day.