We’ve always seemed to have a successful bedtime routine until recently. Our two boys, ages 6 and 3, have really changed over the years and it was time to adapt our bedtime routine.
Each night we did the usual routine of announcing how much time until bed, keeping to calm activities, starting the routine early, etc. However no matter what we did the moment it was time to head upstairs and start our bedtime routine it all fell apart. Crying, whining, refusal, turned to chasing up the stairs, jumping on beds and messing around in the shower.
This time when both my husband and I could spend quality time getting each child ready for bed became miserable and dreaded.
Something had to be done and I came up with an idea that has shown great results.
It was time to divide and conquer. My husband and I already divided and conquered the work but now we knew we needed to split the kids up too. Duh! It makes so much sense considering the ages they are and the fact that they were feeding off the negative behaviors from one another.
Here is what we did to get a better bedtime result.
- We start our older child into the routine first, just by 5-10 minutes. We take him upstairs and have him get ready and shower first. The 3 year old loves the fact that he gets to go up later so that helped. This turns our older son into a role model for his little brother. We expected our older son would be upset that he had to go up first but once he saw he got more alone time with a parent and time to read, he was on board.
- Now that the older child was in bed we brought up the 3 year old and got him ready. This separation between the two kids really kept things calm and everything moved a lot faster.
- Finally we reunite for hugs, read a book separately, and they are both in bed within 5 to 10 minutes of each other.
This simple idea of splitting up the kids and dividing and conquering changed everything. Depending on the ages of your children or their personalities you may want to switch the order and have the younger start the routine first.
I think I was just in the habit of having a baby and toddler and doing this routine all at the same time and together, that I didn’t even see that it was the cause of my bedtime craziness.
Just as you think you are figuring something out your children change and you have to adapt with them. Hopefully this simple tip can help your bedtime routine.