Can we all agree that as parents, that sometimes the word bedtime may as well be a four letter word, ha! I kid! It can just be hard sometimes when everyone is tired and you just want to get to bed!
I have found that my kids do much better with bedtime when they stick to a routine. We definitely have been good at it at times, bad at it at times, or so so, but a solid routine has definitely helped in our home over the years.
Reading books has always been a part of our bedtime routine for my kids. It has been very interesting how this has evolved over the years. When they were babies my husband and I were reading them the books every night. But, now that they are getting to be good little readers, my oldest two are immersed in their own books, and my youngest is learning to read on his own as well! It feels so good to see the bedtime routines and habits we have established for them early on has continued as they are growing older.
I am excited to partner with Random House Kids today to introduce you to Carl-Johan Forsseìn Ehrlin’s new book, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, and share with you some of our favorite bedtime routines, and most importantly our favorite tip to get our kids to fall asleep, and stay in their own beds at night.
I love this Subway art we have in our boys room! It basically spells out our kid’s bedtime routines. Night time is a little different around our house than it used to be when the kids were just babies. Nowadays we have homework, practices, games, ballet, lessons, scouts, you name it. It is a little different than back when they were smaller and we didn’t have all of that going on. I do still think it is important to stick to a bit of a routine! So, here’s is a little taste of what we do at our home.
- Bath time: My kids always loved bath time, even when they were little! Now we are taking showers a lot of the time, but I still think it’s a nice way to relax, and great way to start getting settled and ready for bed.
- Pajamas, or Jammies as we call them: After bath time, we send the kids off to get into their pajamas. Although most days our youngest Thomas prefers to only sleep in his underwear, we still encourage pajama attire. Wink! It’s important for them to feel comfortable and warm in order to get a good night’s sleep!
- Brush Teeth: I think my kids would love for this part of the routine to go away, but it is important for them to keep their teeth healthy. We don’t always do the best job, but we certainly try. It’s such a struggle to get them to want to brush their teeth, but I found that helping them through it, and showing them the best way to clean all their teeth helps a ton!
- Storytime: Reading stories has always been a part of our nightly routine, and it is a great way to help our kids to settle down and get ready for sleep. We have loved reading together over the years. And, it is so fun to see Norah and Ezra reading to Thomas lately! They usually lay down together or in each other’s beds and read books or look at books each night. Norah spends almost an hour in her bed each night reading her favorite books. It is so fun to see them having such a love for reading! We are really loving Carl-Johan Forsseìn Ehrlin’s new book, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep! It is a darling new book that helps to promote relaxation! It is about a little Elephant who is on a journey through a magical forest that leads to sleep. Along the way she meets different fantastical characters and has soothing experiences that are meant to help children relax and fall asleep quickly! I’m all for a book that is interesting and has a purpose! Anything to help those cuties to fall asleep after a long day!
- Tuck in: No matter how old my kids get, they still love for us to tuck them in at night with a kiss. Even when my husband is working late, they still ask me to have daddy come and kiss them, and tuck in their covers when he gets home after they are sleeping.
- Say Prayers: One of the most important part of our Families bedtime routine with the kids is to say a family prayer each night before the kids go off to bed. We also do this in the mornings before school. It is a great time bow our heads and to reflect on our day, and to verbally show appreciation to God for what we have been given, and be mindful and grateful for our blessings. We also ask to help our family in things we are needing to work on, and we also pray for others who may be in need as well. It is a special time of our day to pause amongst all of the hustle, and remember what is truly important to us, and to remind our children as well. We each take turns every day, and it especially sweet for me to hear the prayers of my little children, and to hear what is on their minds and in their hearts. I always love to hear their thankfulness for our family, and for things that I don’t want them to take for granted such as their home, food, water, school, etc. It is also always sweet to hear them praying for their siblings to help them not be scared at night. Or a friend or relative that may be facing health problems, or are in extra need. It really helps us to establish a great connection to each other, and makes them feel safe and warm before they head off to sleep.
- Kiss and Cuddle: Next, we give our kids one last kiss and cuddle before it is off to sleep for the night. We usually allow them to read in their beds, as long as they don’t get out of bed. As I said, some nights our little Norah is in there for over an hour reading, and her brothers as well. We come in after them have fallen asleep to collect their pile of books, and turn out their lights.
- Sleeptime: The kids finally drift off to sleep for the night, hopefully only to happy dreams, and a sound sleep.
Well, I guess that wouldn’t be a total reality to say it just ends at sleep time. Don’t I wish! We have definitely had our times when our kids have had a hard time staying in their own beds to fall asleep and stay there during the entire night. Sometimes they will be just fine, and then we go on a trip, or one of them is having a hard time with something. There have been a lot of times where it has been thrown off. We have always tried to be really good about having our kids sleep in their own beds. It can be a real struggle, and I know I don’t sleep well at night with a few extra bodies in my bed.
My kids are welcome to come into our room if they are feeling sick, or afraid, or had a bad dream. But, we don’t like to make it a habit. I think the best thing that we have come up with to cure that is to make a chart. Just a simple chart or piece of paper and stickers. We usually allow our kids to make it them selves. But, it just shows the days of the week, and a grid or you could even leave it blank. At the top we write, “Tommy’s Chart.” Then something like. “Sleep in his own Bed,” or whatever goal we are working towards. (this works great for a lot of things they need to be working on!) Then we decide as parents how many days he will need to sleep in his bed in order to achieve his goal. Then we ask him what he would like to do when he reaches his goal. We love to do something special one on one with our kids. A parent-kid date is what we call them. We found our kids want to have that alone time with us more than anything else! Some of our kids say to go out with mom and dad to dinner with just them to their favorite restaurant or soda shop. Or to head to their favorite bowling alley for a game. Just a little something like that, but we allow our kids to choose the activity and spend quality time together. Each day he sleeps in his own bed through the night, he gets one sticker for his chart. After he got 7 stickers, or the set amount of stickers required for the goal, then he was able to set a date and go on this one on one date with us. We found that worked really well for our children, and I hope this helps spark an idea to help your child to stay in his or her bed at night if you are struggling with that too!
As always, thanks for reading, and sweet dreams!
(all photos by me)