We struggled so much with our oldest when it came to bedtime. He had every excuse under the sun to stay up. He cried, crawled into our bed, whined and complained, every single night. He was probably about 5 years old when we finally started to see less power struggles around bedtime. At that point he was the oldest of three and if we didn't get his bedtime routine under control, we'd soon be living in a madhouse!
|NO! You can't wear PJs on your head!|
So what changed? Everything! We eliminated late naps and committed to a bedtime routine. Over time and with patience our children soon understood what to expect at bedtime, especially our oldest. In our home, every child goes down at separate times (20-30 mins apart). We give them each their one-on-one attention. We snuggle them into bed after pjs/teeth bushing/diaper changes and make sure to say a prayer with each. My son really enjoys praying together and a quick snuggle. He also likes having a cup of water handy. When the kids are unusually wild, I read them a book to calm their brains and bodies. That's our simple nightly routine, and though simple, the key is that we are consistent.
Check out our favorite responses from HerMamas who have defeated the bedtime blues:
- Scared Kiddo? If they say they're scared of the boogeyman or cucuy, you can make repellent simply by using a water filled spray bottle and spraying around the door, bed, closet, etc. Works every time!
- Try the 3 B's: Bath, Brush, and Book. First the bath, then after the pjs are on, time to brush teeth, and then read a book. If they're really tired, pick a short story, if they're really wild; pick a big book with a lot of little stories. On those nights, you might read for 30 mins. That's usually long enough to settle them down and they'll drift off pretty quickly. Maybe use a nightly checklist to mark off the 3 B's.
- Take your time: Give kids a 30 mins. warning and then a 20 mins. then 10 then 5, leave soothing music on (Pandora is great because it will shut off after an hour or so; they also have kids stations for toddlers or older), supply them with a mini sports bottle with water (thirst is a usual complaint at bedtime), provide a night light for them. To avoid them from getting out of bed tell them "I will be in in 15 mins. to check on you."
- Stick to a routine NIGHTLY: i.e. dinner, bath, dance party, story and bed.
Everything above has one thing in common: a ROUTINE that addresses kids varying needs, likes or wants. Find the angle that's best for your little one and be consistent. Bedtime challenges are completely normal. It'll take some adapting to find what routine your child enjoys. Don't throw in the towel too soon and try out some of the bedtime rituals suggestioned above or create your own. Soon enough you'll find your child is going to bed easily and effortlessly!
Good Luck HerMamas!
Comment below and share your bedtime routines with us.