Ahh, the day is winding down. You came home from work, you had dinner, you took care of some chores around the house. Maybe you had a beer or two (depending on the day you had) and now its time to put the kids to bed. My spouse and I mainly share one of the most controversial times of the day, BEDTIME. We love our kids and I am sure you do as well, but when its bed time, its bed time. Currently in our house there are two bedtimes due to the age gap between the kids. One is at 7:30 and the other between 8:00-8:30 depending on the day of the week. You know the day where your out and about at sports, scouts, dance whatever. We try to keep the bed time on schedule as much as possible, why because its important to get those kids down so you can finally enjoy some “You or Us” time.
I know as parents, you are always pushed for time and last on the list to take care of is you. Its just the nature of the beast when you have kids, especially multiple. To those parents who just have one, you have no idea what its like with multiple kids in the house come bedtime.
1. Parenting is a team job!
Both Parents have busy lives in various ways; whether you’re staying at home, going out to work a job, or working from home, none of it comes easy, so just remember that sharing is caring. By splitting bedtime routine responsibility between both parents, it allows a brief moment of sanity.
2. Keep the “goodnights” brief
Oh does this come hard in our house. I think our kids kiss and say goodnight to us maybe 50 times. They seriously try and find every excuse to try and stay up, or give us that last kiss again and again. Its nice that they love us but I try to go by the “one hug, one kiss” philosophy. Because before you know it, you start bedtime at 8pm and its now 9pm.
3. Routine, Routine, Routine
Having a routine is crucial for taking back your bedtime. Since we have 4 kids, our routines are a little different between the older kids and younger kids. For example, the older kids must shower every other day. If they have a sport, dance or gym at school its shower night. They know it, and their is no getting out of it. Don’t let them go to bed stinky from sweat, germs and god who knows. The little ones bath time is a little more flexible because they are younger but we try and bath them every 2-3 days just to be clean (I am a little OC when it comes to clean). Whatever you do, keep in under 30 minutes unless its a bath/shower night.
In the 30 minutes they have, they need to get into pjs (yes you are not sleeping in school clothes, yuck), brush their teeth, go to the bathroom and take a last drink of water. Then you can hang out with them whether its talking about their day, reading a story or part of a story or just having some 1 on 1 time.
4. Bedtime snacks
If you have older kids, they may need more than the three meals a day to keep them going, so a small snack before bedtime can help their bodies stay fueled through the night. Healthy options include whole-grain cereal with milk, graham crackers, or a piece of fruit or vegetable. Avoid large snacks too close to bed, especially with older kids, because a full stomach can interfere with sleep. Our kids get an unhealthy choice 2-3 times a week but they must eat it before 7:30 when its on a weeknight. We never say no to things like fruit, vegetables or yogurt.
5. Make sleep a family priority
It’s best to let the kids know how important good sleep is. Depending on their age, set up a regular go to bed/wake up time with them. Even on the weekend. I know a lot of parents who don’t have a set bedtime on the weekend and when I have conversations with them, they always complain “oh he was up until 1am, or he didn’t get up until 10am”. Well this is the reason, by having a consistent bedtime for both weekday/weekend you can ensure your kid has a good solid required time. Otherwise, I know when my older kids don’t get sleep, they are crabby as heck.
My favorite of course is the book title Go the F@ck to Sleep. It’s even best when its read by Samuel L. Jackson. Don’t know what I am talking about. YouTube and put in Go the F@ck to Sleep Samuel L. Jackson and be ready to laugh hysterically.