Bedtime. The magical words that moms whisper to themselves after a long day.
Often times it is a rushed routine, simply so mommy can get some shut eye. What if I told you establishing a routine can be just as relaxing for you as it is for your kids?
Here are a few tips to make bedtime magical for all parties involved:
Start winding your kids down before they get overtired
What happens when your kids get over tired? I think any mom can answer that for you. Unexplained tears and tantrums often signal it’s time for bed. When your children don’t stick to a routine and are overstimulated or overtired, this makes for one miserable evening for EVERYONE. Do yourself a favor and begin bedtime routines before the crankiness sets in.
Make bath time fun
Most kids love bath time! If you have an infant that hates it, have no fear, this will change soon! Bath toys, water proof books and even bath crayons make taking a bath more fun. Adding bubbles always excites my kids. Various brands like Crayola even have colored bubbles! To help my kids wind down in the evenings, I use Aveeno Baby Lavender Body Wash. Lavender is known for having a calming effect on kids.
Add some literacy to the bedtime routine
As an educator, it saddens me to hear that there are a high percentage of children who don’t like to read. Reading to your child (at any time) has a myriad of benefits. One of which is the relationship you build with your child. They will remember those moments of cuddling together to read a good book. It also opens your child’s mind to a variety of experiences, assists with language acquisition, mastery of language and basic speech skills.
Teach your children how to fall asleep on their own
It’s important that your children learn to fall asleep on their own once they are past the newborn stage. What happens when they depend on you to sing, rock or hold them in order to fall asleep? Well just ask my 2.5 year old. I had established a firm routine with her sister, but rocked her to sleep every night past two years old. Some nights, I just wanted to lay her down and relax. That wouldn’t fly. She cried. Then screamed. And followed me to my room. It was painful. I thought I’d never get her to sleep on her own. And then it hit me. I hadn’t established a firm routine with her! I included her when I read her older sister (5) a story at night, then walked her to her room for prayers, kissed her, and it was as simple as that! By the end of the week, I had established a routine with her that allowed her to fall asleep on her own. It’s easy to make that mistake, even if you have other children.
Pick a bedtime, and be consistent
Kids love consistency. Heck, adults do too. Picking a consistent bedtime not only helps you nightly but if you ever need to leave your kids with a babysitter (or your parents), they will continue to follow the same routine you’ve established in lieu of your presence.
How do you establish a bed time routine with your children? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Diedre Anthony, blogger