There is one set of routines that we try to keep up with, even during the more chaotic non-school days: the bedtime routine. It amazes me how much my kids look forward to some aspects of our bedtime routine. Here’s a run down of some of the best parts of going to bed, according to our kids.
A Bedtime Routine to Get Out Wiggles
After we clean the play room each night, we have family gymnastics at home.
My kids love running around the room, doing somersaults and cartwheels. It’s not the largest space, but my kids love “gymnastics time.”
It’s also great to get the extra energy out before we wind down for bed time.
Refocusing Our Family at Bedtime
Family prayer time is the tricky “time to wind down” moment. We let the kids run circles around us while we kneel and wait for them to get to the point where they can sit for a moment and pray. In a recent General Conference talk, Elder Scott reminded me that “Family prayer should be a nonnegotiable priority in your daily life.” Okay, then. We’ll keep making sure we do this.
The Non-Negotiable Bedtime Routine
Kids then get on pajamas on, brush their teeth, and use the bathroom. These are just more nonnegotiable things to do.
When Strawberry was not yet potty trained, we used our regular visits to the toilet as more of a game. Eventually, she got the point of it all!
A few days a week, Strawberry and Kitty will take a bath at this point, too. (Raisin showers himself in the mornings.)
Next up is story time! This too is non-negotiable.
I usually read Strawberry 1-3 stories (depending on how late it is). Often, Raisin will join in for the picture book time. Sometimes, he prefers to go read himself in his room. (I often read to him as well after Strawberry is tucked in.)
Sometimes Strawberry and I read full-length books instead. She loves Magic Tree House! I love that my rambunctious girl will cuddle for favorite stories still.
Toddler Kitty plays with toys and flips through books in the same room. Sometimes she wants her own story. More often, she wants to turn pages herself.
Bedtime Lights Out
After story time, it’s lights out for Strawberry. When she was younger, I would sing three songs and rock her in the chair in the dark until she said, “I’m ready!” and then it was time to be tucked in to bed!
Now she listens to songs or a Play Away. Kitty doesn’t always fall aslerp right away so I’ll keep her with me a little longer. (She’s in that awful nap-and-I-won’t-sleep stage.) I may tuck her in my bed until Strawberry is asleep.
When we took down Strawberry’s crib, this routine really helped her. Of course, she popped right out of bed the first few days (and sometimes she still did so we used bedtime passes to practice staying in bed). But when we reinforced the same routine (maybe add another minute of rocking, or another song), it helped her remember that it was time to stay in bed.
My kids know what to expect when we keep to the same routine each time. We started school early in August, because I felt our kids needed to get back in to routines . . . and Raisin agreed! This means that we often take breaks for a few days so we won’t burn out.
The bedtime routine stays. No matter what.
What bedtime routine works best for you?