By the end of the day, I’m ready to be done parenting. I love bedtime! (And I’m sure I’m not the only parent who does).
What I don’t want is a long drawn-out struggle when bedtime rolls around.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better at making bedtime a quick and easy event for all of us.
(And often, once our two girls are down, my husband and I high-five in the hallway. The night is ours!)
Here are some of our secrets for making bedtime simple and straightforward:
1. Get rid of the excess activities – I spend a lot of time with my children during the day, so I don’t feel a need to do a ton of stuff as part of the bedtime routine. We don’t read stories, we don’t sing a bunch of songs. Once they are ready for bed (jammies and brushed teeth), we say a family prayer, I rock them for about 30 second and then tuck them into bed with a kiss.
2. Keep all the bedtime necessities in the crib – I don’t want to spend a bunch of time searching for lost items, so the pacifier, blanket, and stuffed lambie always stay in the crib. My girls know they don’t come out, and I never have to hunt them down when bedtime comes.
3. Stick to a standard time – Pick a bedtime that works for your family (for us, it’s 7:00 p.m.) and stick with it. Life is easier for everyone when they know what to expect.
4. Have bath time earlier in the day – I use bath time as a way to pass long mornings or afternoons, but doing it right before bed doesn’t work well for our family because it just rushes things too much.
5. Get a sound machine – This is my #1 piece of parenting advice. Not only does it keep a room insulated from outdoor sounds, it also helps my kids know it’s bedtime no matter where we are, which I love on vacation.
6. Don’t go in at the first whimper – I’ve discovered that both of my girls love to give about 15 seconds of whining or crying every few weeks just to see if they can get a bedtime reprieve. If they are really crying, I’ll go in and help, but most of the time, as soon as they realize it’s really bedtime and I’m not fooled by some whining, they’ll go right to sleep without any more fuss.