There are few things sweeter than cuddling with a child and preparing for bed and delicious sleep. Studies show again and again a bedtime routine is key to preparing the mind, body, and spirit for sleep. So here’s a bedtime tip for you:

Merge your schedules.

Adult caregivers have multiple jobs requiring as many quick shifts as a driver in the Indy 500. We face our strengths as well as our doubts. Is the child in my care healthy? Warm enough? Getting enough stimulation? Too much stimulation? The right stimulation? She’s hungry and needs to eat right now, but the only thing handy is a slice of pizza or a handful of crackers.

If the caregiver is the chief chef in the house, there’s managing dinners for young children as well as partners and spouses scheduled for different times. And we all have the external pressure of seeing the images in advertisements and on television of caregivers who can “do it all” with seeming ease and grace.

Truth: There is no one who can do it all – there is no such thing as perfection. There is enjoying the journey, particularly with a child as one of your companions.

Bedtime tip: step one in establishing a solid bedtime routine is to realize you, the caregiver, have the same needs as the child in your care: To be safe, loved, and peaceful. We can access those feelings any time we choose. Set a timer to go off 20 minutes before bedtime. Allow yourself a moment to breathe and go over the day. Observe and acknowledge how many things you did right. Then set one intention for after the bath, brushing, and pajamas. Choose just one thing to enjoy together. It could be a gentle touching game, a story or poem from your childhood, or a lullaby.

Pick one thing to enhance those 20 minutes before sleep for both you and the child in your care…see how things change.

And make sure you get some time to yourself! Download “My Time” – a guided meditation for caregivers by filling out the form below.

Sleepytime Club…bedtime made simple.