When I was pregnant with my first baby, I loved the idea of having an elaborate bedtime routine. Fast forward 4 years and we have had a few bedtime highs but so many more bedtime lows. It can be very challenging, to say the least, to get your kids to go to bed and stay in bed without having to fight with them for hours.
After years of trial and error, and even though it’s still not perfect, we have come up with a few tips that really help streamline bedtime and make it a positive experience for everyone.
Before you read on, know that this takes work, being intentional, and consistency. It won’t happen overnight.
If you are like me and have picky toddlers, don’t forget to sign up for my Healthy Snack Grocery List! It’s a life saver!
1. Ditch Screen Time 1 Hour Before Bed.
It’s really easy to put on a quick show for your kids to calm them down before bed. But it can actually be more stimulating. HealthDay wrote a great article about screen time before bed. This article has so much proof that screen time before bed is terrible for both kids and adults.
Make it a habit to put your screens to bed a minimum of 1 hour before your kid’s bedtime.
2. Develop a pre-bedtime workout routine (Include putting their pajamas on, brushing teeth and drinking water)
About two years into being a new parent, I realized that every night about 30 minutes before bed, my kids got some sort of evil burst of energy. EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. So I decided to make up a little workout routine for them and made it fun! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
I’ll say workout time!!!….
“Quick run and put your pajamas on as fast as you can and come back and give me a high five”
Then when they come I’ll say….
“Do 10 jumping jacks”
“Brush your teeth and report back to me”
To keep it fun I created specific workout moves they could do like sister squats and best friend pushups. They love it and it really helps them to get the wiggles out before bed.
During this time I have their water ready to go and will say hydrate!! And they will run and drink water. I included this part strategically so when they are finally ready for bed, they’re fully hydrated and can go potty and won’t have accidents. I know, brilliant!! hehe
3. Reminisce over the day and have them pick their favorite part.
I absolutely love doing this with them!! I’ll say “Rosalee, what was your favorite part of today”. Then I’ll go over the day and remind them of all the fun things we did together. I love hearing what the come up with. It’s usually not what I expected them to say. I do this strategically as well. By doing this, I am reminding them of full their life is, how loved they are, and many things we did. Then I explaining how important it is that they rest their bodies to stay healthy. Don’t draw this step out. Keep it simple and chat while you’re getting them in bed.
4. Let them choose between a book or song.
Don’t give them too many options or they will literally treat you like a bedtime slave. Kids are cute but can be so demanding. They need boundaries and direction. Whichever they pick I either choose which song/book or give them very limited options. Again, they are searching for a reason to stall and will spend 10 minutes just picking a book or song.
5. Say A Simple Consistent Prayer
I typically keep our bedtime prayer the same or very very similar. Again, it’s important to keep their whole bedtime routine simple and consistent.
Whether you choose to do this exact nighttime routine or alter it a bit doesn’t matter. What matters is that you pick a routine that works for you and them and stick to it. You have to be consistent!
“Small disciplines repeated with consistency lead to great achievements gained slowly over time”
I’ve learned the hard way that 8 out of ten times, behavioral issues are born out of our kids really not knowing what we expect from them which leads to frustration and confusion.
NOTE: I am in no way a behavioral professional, I am only sharing things I’ve observed in my 4 short years of being a mama.
I hope that these tips are helpful in getting your littles to bed on time, in an enjoyable way.
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I invite you to leave a comment below and let me know if this post was helpful to you!