After posting about putting the kids to bed early so parents can have some quiet time in the evening, I was approached about commenting on bedtime routines for kids. Well, here it is.
Bedtime routines cannot start at the time that you want your kids to be in bed. Routines have to start at least 30 minutes before the designated bedtime. This allows the kids to have some time to calm down and get settled before bed rather than having them all hyped up from playtime and then try to tuck them in. You really won’t be successful if you try the later method.
A routine has to be filled with things that are either designated only for bedtime or are soothing. Getting dressed for bed, bath time, brushing the teeth, reading a story… they are all things we know to do with our kids but we like to keep things fun for them so we keep everything hyped up in some way. Slow down and your kids will slow down with you.
Have them put toys away so they know play time is over. Begin the search for that special bedtime item well before bed so you don’t suddenly realize it’s missing when you kiss them on their forehead and tell them “goodnight” only for them to ask where their teddybear is.
Anticipate what your kids need and try to meet them before they are put to bed so they don’t have excuse after excuse as to why they should come visit you every 5 minutes. And don’t be afraid to be firm, especially when you first start out a new foreign routine. Their old routine may have been that they didn’t have a routine at all, so they will fight you on it. Stand you ground and they will get used to it.