Elvis may not have written his song about your child’s bedtime routine, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply! Do you ever feel that getting through your child’s bedtime routine leaves you feeling drained and ready for bed yourself? Check out these easy fixes to make bedtime a peaceful and calm transition that would make anybody fall in love.
It’s bedtime, you have completed your routine with your little one, you are ready to lay down yourself because the routine left you drained, and you hear your little one calling you back. They need one more kiss, one more hug, one more song, a sip of water, and they promise they will go to sleep. Except, the requests do not stop and your patience is wearing thin. You want to love this time with your little one but you’re not sure how to make this process feel good for both of you. If this sounds familiar, read on and get ready to fall in love with bedtime!
Ensure Bedtime is not too late to Avoid Bedtime Battles
One of the first places we want to start with bedtime is the actual time we are beginning the routine. Often, if you are seeing bedtime battles, having trouble getting through the routine, or it takes your little one awhile to fall asleep, bedtime may actually be too late. Bumping bedtime earlier (even by 30 minutes) can make a huge difference. This begins with starting the routine earlier to ensure you are done in time to have your little one tucked in for that earlier bedtime.
An earlier bedtime can prevent your child from becoming overtired. If you notice your child is melting down throughout dinner, is experiencing behavior challenges, or seems wired throughout your routine, this is a sign bedtime may be too late. Bringing that bedtime earlier can help prevent these challenging behaviors and can have you on your way to loving bedtime sooner!
Quiet the House as You Begin the Bedtime Routine
This step is a simple one that can make a big difference. It can bring a sense of calm to everyone and can help the bedtime transition. As you move through the house to begin your bedtime routine, quiet the house down. Dim or turn off lights that are no longer needed, tidy up any easy to grab clutter, act as if you are shutting down the house as you move toward your child’s space. Turn on sound machines at the beginning of the routine, dim lights in the bedroom, and match your voice to the quiet of the house.
This is a step that you will thank yourself for when the routine is completed. Coming out of their bedroom to a calm house can make the rest of your night more smooth and you will begin to love their bedtime routine because it is also the beginning of your own. Bedtime routines serve as a transition in our day and viewing it as the beginning of your own routine and not something to get through can be so helpful.
View the Routine as a Time for Connection
It is so easy to want to rush through bedtime after a long day. But what if we slowed it down and viewed it as a time to connect with our child? It is important to have a bedtime routine that feels good to both you and your child. You can read stories that both of you love, take out time to talk through your days, play a board game, or many other calming activities.
You both may begin to look forward to and begin to love this part of your day. That connection can help this process feel more collaborative and not something you are forcing upon your child.
Use Choices with Your Child at Bedtime
As mentioned, we want to love this time with our child, but, we also want them to love this time. Giving them choices throughout the routine can help them feel empowered and that they are a part of this process. That said, we can set limits so that they are not overwhelmed with choice. Give them options, they can choose between two pjs, they can choose what order they want to brush teeth/go potty, they can choose where you read your books or complete your activity.
This is a great way to still have clear and consistent boundaries, but it also gives your child a voice in their bedtime routine. And with this, you are one step closer to loving the routine yourself!
Loving your child’s bedtime routine does not have to involve creating a whole new routine and it really is as simple as a few shifts in how we view the routine. Keep in mind, your child’s daily schedule does play a part in when they should be going to bed and this guide can be a great place to start if you feel that a schedule shift will help you love your child’s bedtime routine!