The secret to bedtimes without hassles? Routine.
Children always do better when they know what to expect and are comforted by rituals throughout the day.
When children follow a routine, they are more likely to be cooperative.
The book, “Goodnight, Moon,” provides an example of how soothing and comforting ritual is to a child.
Our daughter had already established a ritual of saying, “Night-night” to everything in her room at bedtime, including the furniture, so this book became an instant favorite. Another bedtime treasure was “The Little Quiet Book” by Katharine Ross.
Suggestions of elements to include in your routine are:
- A gentle reminder that bedtime is coming.
- Time. Allow yourself at least an hour to go through the process of unwinding for the day.
- Along with bathing and brushing teeth, include reading a story, singing a song, having a snuggle, sharing something from the day (something funny, the best thing that happened, something new) and a goodnight kiss.
Choose a pattern that works best for you, and stick with it.
Be sure to do your best to recreate the rituals when you travel or when visitors come.
If there is a disruption, it might take a few days to get back in the rhythm. Be patient.
Take a little time to decompress before you guide your child through the process.
One evening after I hurried through the good-night ritual and was getting ready to leave the room, my 4-year-old reminded me, “Mommy, we forgot the peace in our snuggle.”
They really do notice!
By the end of the day, we are all tired. If you are anxious for your children to go to bed so you can have some peace and quiet, that message will come across.
Then, children will be more resistant than ever to bedtime.
If you’re having trouble getting your little ones settled, check in with yourself and figure out what steps to take for your own comfort.
Much of the peace at bedtime comes from you.