Could you bedtime routine be streamlined?
Take a moment and ask yourself this question: Is my bedtime routine too long?
I know, you’re thinking I’ve got to be kidding with this one.
Bedtime routine too long? Really?
Looking at the posts on Scary Mommy like this one you’d think the too-long bedtime routine observation is delusional.
What can happen – if we’re like the caregiver in the Scary Mommy post – is we over-compensate. We put the child in the driver’s seat. The role of a parent is so fraught with oughts we’re always questioning ourselves. The Internet hasn’t made that any easier. More choices can give us more stress.
Your bedtime routine is too long if:
- It takes more than 25 minutes from toothbruth + PJ time to lights out
- You’re feeling drained
- It doesn’t work! Your child gets a second wind and you’ve missed that window for sleep
Then there is the discussion on the Natural Parents Network on child-led bedtimes.
I get it – I really do.
You have to do what works for the child. But you also have to do what works for you.
You can streamline your too-long bedtime routine without feeling as if you’re depriving your family. It’s really a matter of setting up the right atmosphere and cues for your children.
Steps to streamline your bedtime routine:
- Know how many hours of sleep each child needs by going to this link on The National Sleep Foundation’s site. Use this information to set the optimal “in bed” and wake-up times for your family.
- Start your bedtime routine 45 minutes before bedtime. This gives you enough time for kids to share the sink for brushing teeth and bath time for the itty bitties. It also gives you enough time to reverse any morning rituals like laying out clothes or school supplies. Reversing morning routines is a powerful cue it’s time for bed. With the remaining 20 minutes, you can have your quiet tuck-in time and probably time left over to check in on the other children.
- Keep it calm, keep it simple. Avoid horseplay and pillow fights. Decide on the routine within the routine: Is the toothpaste always put away in the same place? Are PJs tucked under the pillow or in a drawer? Decide on the bedtime book or story ahead of time. The right phrase, quiet activity, or calm intention can send a more powerful a message about sleep routines than going through the bedtime book library.
Which brings us to tip number 4…
- The caregiver is in charge. Sleep experts such as Dr. Meir Kryger and Dr. Robert Rosenberg are less in sync with child-led bedtime routines. But even if you feel strongly that that is right choice for your children’s temperaments, it’s important you model for your family that everyone is honored – including the person who is the caregiver.
What I’ve learned from experience and speaking with health experts is that it’s all about balance. That’s why I created the Bedtime Blueprint. Your daytime routines not only give you peace of mind, but they also nourish the family bedtime routines. Get your copy by filling out the form below.