A routine is what makes transitioning to bedtime successful.
Transitioning to bedtime used to be a breeze. When I would announce that it was time for bed, Norah would collect all her Paw Patrol pups, hobble up the stairs as I grappled Gideon to come join us, and she would be ready for storytime and prayers, then go right to sleep. Piece of cake right?! Now when we announce bedtime, it has become a wrestling/scream match to even get her up the stairs sometimes. This part of the day became stressful and a bit frustrating.
After it happened quite a few times, I got to the point where changes needed to be made and started eliminating or implementing things that I thought could be causing Norah to refuse to go to bed. I’m no expert, but maybe some of these ideas might help if you’re in a battle during bedtime.
Sticking to a Routine
From the time Norah was an infant until a few months ago, we stuck to a routine and usually Norah would be in bed before 8pm. Lately, we kind of let Norah stay up a little longer and dinner time wasn’t always consistent, which I figured was part of the problem.
Sticking to a routine every night has become a game changer! We schedule dinner around 6pm, which gives her time to eat her dinner and play a little bit before we take a bath (if it’s a bath night), brush her teeth, and get her tucked in for stories and prayer. Her bedtime is set to be around 7:30p-8p. Once we stuck to it, we noticed that Norah is willing to go to bed when announced and a lot calmer too. She may even say that she’s tired or wants to go to bed, which never happened before. Every night may run a little different, but we try to stay close to the same schedule.
Talk about the Plan
We go over our plan for the night. I would say something like, “Ok, you have 30 more minutes to play, then it’s time to take a bath, brush our teeth, read stories and pray before bed.” I tend to get “okay, mommy” and she is willing to adhere to the routine. As we start knocking things off our list, I continue to talk about what is next as we proceed with our routine. If your child likes pictures, you could make a chart, so they can visualize what is going to happen. I noticed that as I talk about what is next with Norah, Gideon picks up on it too!
More “At the Table” Meals
I am not going to lie, but for the a while we barely ate at home. We stopped preparing meals and ate out way too often. Now, we make an effort to stick to a meal plan, to ensure the kids are getting the best nutrition they can. This also can help with sleeping through the night. In addition, we would neglect to eat at the table together. Usually, the kids eat first, then we would eat once they were in bed. Since we started eating together every night, we engage in more conversations. In like manner, Norah is willing to eat foods that she would normally push away when she sees us eat them too.
No More TV!
We no longer turn the TV on when we come home. Matter of fact, the iPad is put away as well. I may play some music, but that’s it! Norah can become so engulfed in her favorite movies or shows that it makes transitions difficult for her. So away the tv went! Norah now plays more with Gideon and Pete and I usually join too, unless we’re finishing up dinner. Also, diffusing some oils, like lavender and vetiver, helps take the witching out of witching hour!
All things considered, life is crazy, it’s messy, and it’s real. Between work schedules, the kid’s activities, and everything else, you’ll be lucky to even get you kids into bed on time. Adjust where you need to and don’t feel less than any other mother, if your bedtime routine isn’t perfect. Nobody has a perfect routine! If they make it in bed kicking and screaming, so be it! Heck, I can’t get Norah to sleep in a bed without a gazillion pups! It drives me insane, but it’s part of her security right now. Give yourself some grace!
What makes your bedtime routine successful?