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We all know that our children are the best, most wonderful, most well-behaved kids on the planet. When you become a parent, your children are immediately better than everyone else’s, it’s just a fact of life. However, there is one universal truth that every parent must come to terms with: bedtime will be, at one point or another, the bane of your existence.
Single parents have it hard. Married parents have it hard. Moms and dads and grandparents raising grandchildren and foster parents fostering ALL have it hard. You know why? Because bedtime can be one of the most stressful times of the day.
For me personally, I like to reserve the hour or so before I go to bed “me-time.” I like to read, watch all the good murder documentaries, repin outfits on Pinterest that I can’t afford, and generally zone out. That can be quite impossible, though, when you have one child who is dying of thirst, another of starvation, and another that may be, possibly, coming down with a rare case of spontaneous plague, because they vaguely feel that the left side of their right elbow hurts.
My friend, you are not alone. While we all struggle with bedtime from time to time, I’ve found that there are some preventative measures you can take to make bedtime a breeze, and maybe even get a little time to yourself while your little gremlins become sleeping angels.
#1 EASE INTO IT
I don’t think I can stress this enough. A slow transition can work wonders in your routine. Instead of going straight from wrestling with dad to bedtime, plan some time to let your kids wind down. Maybe let them take a time out for a minute or two to get a drink from their favorite cup. We love these spill-proof cups from Amazon.
Make sure to only fill them halfway, though, or they’ll end up needing a potty time 15 minutes after they’ve laid down. You can also let them wind down with a short movie or story, which has the added bonus of getting a few cuddles in.
Another thing my kids like to do is help me around the house. I like to lay out the boys’ clothes the night before, and I’ve found that if they get to help pick out their own clothes, they’re a little more enthused about going to bed so that they can wake up “sooner” and wear what they picked. It’s a genius strategy, I’m telling ya.
#2 SET A BEDTIME, AND STICK WITH IT!
I’ve never been very good about keeping routines but having children helped me to change that. Kids like to know what to expect. If their daily activities like mealtimes, naptimes, bedtimes, etc. are constantly in flux, they’re going to be confused, which tends to result in an abundance of arguments, possible meltdowns, and other unpleasantness that can be avoided. My children have to be up and out the door with me by 7:30 a.m., so they have lights-out at 8:30 p.m. This way, they get plenty of sleep, even if they don’t fall asleep right away, I still have time to get things ready for the next day, and our morning escapades become a lot smoother as a result. Naturally, it’s impossible to make this work every single day, but I do try to stick to it as much as possible. And, to go along with this…
#3 REMIND THEM THAT BEDTIME IS ON ITS WAY
My 7-year-old loves playing on his Xbox in the
#4 HAVE YOUR CHILDREN CLEAN UP
If you’ve found yourself wandering around the house picking up random toys and messes, muttering to yourself about how you’re not going to do this anymore, while continuing to doing it anyway, I have a solution: have your kids do it. It seems like a no-brainer, I know, but if you’re anything like me, sometimes it seems easier to do it yourself rather then hounding your kids who aren’t listening anyway. If you think your nerves can handle a few more minutes, have the mess-makers clean up their messes. This ensures that your house is relatively tidy every night, and has the added bonus of teaching your kids responsibility for themselves. I sincerely believe that our job as parents is to teach our children how not to need us. Having them clean up after themselves is a great step in the right direction.
When they’re little, even the most mundane things can seem fun to the little guys and girls. My kids love the soft character pajamas like these
Finally, after all is said and done, some really good cuddles and bedtime kisses can be just what they needed to help them call it a day and snuggle into their beds.
What do you think? Did any of these tips work for you? I’d love to hear 🙂