I've had a few emails with questions in the past asking me what I think is one of the most important things you can do for your children. I've thought a lot about this. Other than the obvious always encouraging them and loving them, one of the things that I am so glad we initiated early on was a bedtime routine.
There is many reasons for this, and it benefits my kids as well as myself. Why? It's teaching the kids routines, patterns, schedules...which ultimately will help minimize meltdowns and behaviors. It also is great knowing that unless a kid gets sick or something out of the ordinary happens, that by 9 pm every night things will be quiet in the house, and I can have time to breath and get prepared for the next day.
Of course the kids need reminded, a lot. But they are getting to the point where they just need to be redirected because they know what they need to do. Depending on how long it takes them will determine how long of a bed time story time they will get. We read to the kids every day, but the amount of time fluctuates, and occasionally they do run out of time and they don't get to pick out a bedtime story.
What does our routine look like? It's pretty simple really....but always seems to end up taking us an hour from start to finish when they are all tucked in.
1. PJ's on.
2. Pick out school clothes for the next day. (we set these out with their school bags so everything is together)
3. Nighttime medicine (vitamins)
4. Brush teeth and hair
5. Pick out stories!
6. Read. Normally we read two stories for the younger ones, and Anika reads by herself in bed for 15 minutes.
7. Hugs, Kisses, and Lights out!
Like I said, it looks pretty simple, but if we start at 7 or 7:15, they will squeak by and slip into bed by 8pm.
Kids are creatures of habit. Having a consistent routine before bedtime every night will reduce the ups and downs, fights at bedtime, and create a good sleeping pattern for them.
Do you have a bedtime routine for your children? What are some things you do that work well for your kids? Comment below and let us know!