When our kids are little, our bedtime routine often consists of a bath (maybe not every night), fresh diaper, clean pjs, maybe a feed, a story and a song. As they get older, life gets busy – rushing from school to practices or lessons and then home can create a lot of chaos at bedtime. As kids get older, they don’t alway want us to read to or with them. Bedtime can be difficult because we are all tired by the end of the day, and without time to unwind, it can be hard making time to connect with each other. Not only have we worked hard at adulting and parenting, but the kids have used a lot of energy to learn, play, and listen to directions all day.
So, what can you do to help make their bedtime routine not such a chore? Let’s rethink our approach to bedtime. The rushed approach to bedtime can create so much stress and anxiety. Instead, let’s try having a little fun with it! Does this mean a lot of planning or extra time? No! It means, changing things up and making bedtime about connecting with your kids in a different way.
Here are some bedtime activities to help bring some fun and creativity to their routine:
- Make up a shadow puppet show while laying in bed. Have your child get involved in helping the characters and story come to life.
- Put glow in the dark stars up on the ceiling and make a wish. Use this opportunity to have an open dialogue about their day or the goals they want to achieve.
- Play I spy in bed. This is an easy and fun way to change up their bedtime routine. Who doesn’t like a fun game of I spy?
- Build something with Legos. Build it together and create a story about it.
- Role-play with your child before bedtime. Let them be the parent while you are the child or maybe they are the teacher while you are the student. Research states, “ role-play in particular are vital both for children’s social development and for maintaining the emotional basis for learning’.
- Create a silly bedtime story using your family members as the characters. Have your child help create the story as you go. My kids love doing this, the sillier the better!
- Do a puzzle or play a board game. This activity is still calm and relaxing, but allows one on one connection to occur. After a busy day, it is exactly what we all need.
As you can see, the change can be something very easy and quick. It doesn’t have to mean more planning and stress for the parent. Bedtime routines can be about having fun while helping your child prepare for sleep. Try it out, what do you have to lose? You might realize that adding in something fun and creative is just the answer your family needs!