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.
As I’ve been through Reading 1000 Books before Kindergarten with my two oldest kids, I’ve realized that there are various “stages” of reading with children, especially reading with my babies. I started reading with my babies from their infancy, and my third child is nearly two. My thoughts on baby-reading stages are based on my personal observations of three different babies in a house that is full of book-lovers. It’s not scientific. Still, it’s a reminder that it is never to young to start reading with a baby!
When my son was a baby, I visited the library for myself mainly. On one particular day, when he was about six months old, I handed him a baby board book to hold as he sat in the stroller so he had something to hold while I searched for my book of choice. Imagine my surprise when an older lady commented, “Don’t you think he’s a bit too young?”
I’ve thought about that many times in the past 9 years. No, ma’am, I don’t think my son was too young for a book! Was he maybe too young to treat it with gentle reverence? Probably. But babies are never to young for books.
My 4-year-old daughter won’t stay in bed at night. Our bedtime routine helps. But to me it seems that she is perpetually tired. She is such an active girl she does not want to stop moving for one minute. This means she is awake as soon as she can be (usually around 6 but sometimes I’m lucky and it’s a little later) and it is a struggle to get her to slow down for bedtime.
So even after bedtime, there is no guarantee she’ll stay there. Regularly, I’ll be downstairs an hour after bedtime, reading a book or watching a show with my husband, and she’ll come downstairs for a hug and kiss or to plead for us to come tuck her in again. I call it “bouncing.”
I have felt increasingly frustrated, because my husband (who has not been home all day), sometimes lets her sit with him for a few minutes before he tells her to scoot upstairs.
“You’re just reinforcing her habit of bouncing out of bed!” I’ll say.
His response is often,”Oh, sometimes you need to give her a pass.”
I did not quite feel she did need a pass. Isn’t she just being stubborn? Wouldn’t letting kids get out of bed after bedtime teach them that it is okay to do it? It seemed to go against logic.
Yet, as I browsed for ideas for getting a difficult child to stay in their room, I found a post about using bedtime passes and I started thinking that maybe there was some logic in this. Giving a little one a “pass” at times will help her understand the need to stay in bed on the regular days. I needed to put the choice back in her hands so I was no longer trying to control her.