Oh bedtime, the time of day when getting kids to bed and keeping them there is harder than all your day’s efforts combined.
If you’re tired (so, so tired) of the epic battle of wills at bedtime, we’re here to offer a no-fuss, step-by-step guide to keeping your sanity at bedtime.
1. Start with not-so-great expectations
Admit it; you secretly think things are supposed to be different. After all, bedtime doesn’t look like a hurricane of impossibility in the movies, and yet it is. But I don’t have to tell you that life isn’t like the movies. It’s harder and messier, and with worse lighting. It’s time to banish those serene dreams of beautiful bedtimes in favor of more realistic expectations. Bedtime is hard for kids! Wound up and ready to party with you as the guest of honor, your child’s developmentally appropriate case of FOMO (fear of missing out) is mighty powerful stuff. Remain sensitive to your child’s desire to party into the night with those of you who get to enjoy a later bedtime and just know, you’re not alone.
2. Rock a routine
While developing a consistent bedtime routine is about as exciting as watching paint dry, your child will revel in the comfort of a predicable bedtime experience. From the designated time you begin preparing for bed each evening, to the order in which you perform nighttime tasks, an established calm and positive routine takes the struggle, guesswork, and negotiation out of bedtime.
3. Wash, brush, flush
Wash: Take the chore out of bathing by providing your child with fun soaps, shampoos, and bath toys! It’s all about getting them into the tub… and keeping them there!
Brush: Proper oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s health, and luckily, brushing can be fun — especially with the right electric toothbrush! Take the monotony out of manual brushing with a spiffy electric toothbrush like Philips Sonicare for kids that encourages longer, more efficient, and super-fun brushing.
Flush: Minimize the number of bedtime “potty” excuses by making sure your child uses the restroom before climbing into bed for the night.
4. Peace out
Now that the TV is off, voices are low, and your child is fresh and ready for snuggles, this portion of your rockin’ routine might just make a bedtime believer out of both you and your child. Cuddle up together in your child’s bed to talk about their day, address any concerns or worries they may have (Psst! These things can keep them up at night), read together, and offer all the love and affection your child needs to fall asleep quickly and easily.
5. Creature comforts
Never underestimate the power of your child’s creature comforts, such as favorite stuffed toys or blankets. Surrounding your child with the items he knows and loves will help give him the peace and security he needs for a restful sleep.
6. Final check
Before lights go out, make sure to perform one last kid-comfort check: Thirsty? Bathroom? Too hot? Too cold? Your final check will not only reinforce your dedication to your child’s well-being, it helps minimize bedtime stalling tactics.
7. Stay calm
This one goes back to #1. I know you’re able to fall asleep standing, but it’s not as easy for kids. Even after all the checking, double-checking, infinite hugs and kisses, monster checks, and drinks of water, you can pretty much guarantee that child isn’t quite done with you yet! Address your child’s needs swiftly and calmly for the most effective route from Point A to Point Sleep.