Bedtime struggles? I know them well. When you have a baby you don’t get a guide to parenting. They don’t come with bedtime routines, or a guide to how to deal with melt downs, or sibling rivalry manuals. Everyone wants to tells you how to raise your children and they sure do offer a lot of advice and stories about what failed for them as parents. As a mother to four children I’m still learning. Each child is not the same and what works for one child may not work for another, but what I have learned is that children love routines. When they know what to expect they begin to fall into routines that not only make your life easier, but it makes their life more predictable and their behavior less defiant. Watching the Nanny has helped me in so many ways that it’s made my job easier as a mom. It’s helped me to realize the mistakes I’m making as well as ways alternative ways to raising my children to be better adults and it’s also helped tremendously with our bedtime routine.
Our Bedtime routine now begins with the 4 B’s.
What are the 4 B’s you ask?
A soothing warm bath is a great way to end the night. Children play hard and they need time to relaxing. Adding in bubbles and getting them cleaned up before bed is a great way to tone down the excitement of the day. Using scented bath soaps like Lavender and Rose are two scents that will help them relax and calm down for the evening.
Teach your children proper care for their teeth. My kids love to brush and they know if they take care of their teeth, their teeth will take care of them. Yearly dental check-ups go alot better when they take care of their teeth. It’s always important to promote healthy oral care. From brushing your teeth, to flossing and using mouth wash. We did the Listerine challenge last year as well as reviewed Sonic Care tooth brushes the year before and today we are still using them. We’re all getting great check ups and love the clean pearly whites.
Reading stories before bed has been one of my favorite activities since the kids were born. I love books that share fun stories and they love flipping pages and asking questions as we read along. Now that my 1st grader is a fabulous reader he loves reading the stories to me. Each time he reads a story I know that he’s continuing to progress in his reading comprehension abilities and I ask the boys open ended questions to get them both thinking about the story we just read. This helps them tremendously. Some of the best moments are when I ask them to retell me the story without reading the words but they may look at the pictures if they wish. Oh the imagination. Love it.
My youngest son loves when I sing to him before bed. I’ve been singing Twinkle Twinkle little Star but I change the beat almost every time I sing it. Sometimes fast. Sometimes slow sometimes putting an emphasis on different words. Makes the song so much more entertaining. Then I let him sing it back to me. I love his little voice singing “Twinkle Twinkle” melts my heart. I also sing another song my mom taught me when I was younger. I don’t actually recall if she ever sang it to me but I do know we sang it to my younger brothers and sisters. It goes a little something like this..
I once had a dolly.
I called him by name.
I called him my sweetheart and he did the same.
And I always knew what he wanted each day
’cause I would hold him then he would say, “Mama, mama, Mama, Mama.”
One Little word he knew.
“Mama. Mama. Mama Mama.”
To me this meant “I Love You”
Isn’t that the sweetest song ever? Have you ever heard it? I want to record him singing it back to me one day soon hopefully I can catch him this week then I’ll share that with you, too.
I’ve noticed with starting these activities at the same time every night that the children tend to watch the clock for them. They tell me when it’s time to take a bath or time for a story or bed. It’s really cut down on the back talking and crying at night. What I really love is that I get some much needed me time instead of them staying up until 2am with me. This type of bed time routine will work with babies, toddlers and older children, too. The main thing is stay consistent and it will pay off in the end with good sleep for all.
What nightly bedtime routine works for you? Do you have a special songs you sing to your child before bed?