It’s the time to get your child or children to bed, so they get enough rest and also so that you have your time to get yourself some “me” time or couple’s time. Or maybe there is a project that just needs your undivided attention.
Any Mom or Dad needs “no fuss bedtime” in order to enjoy evenings as a simple and a pleasant time of day – for our mental health. That is a fact of Family Life.
It takes some work to make this happen, but it is all really simple things. Try it for a short period and see how easy it will be to put them to bed ON Schedule!
Make Bedtime a Specific Time Each Night
If your child is used to going to bed at 7:30 for instance, each night, they will mentally be ready by 7:30! It is the routine they will adapt to. Don’t change it up, saying they will sleep late the next morning if you let them stay up. You know they will be up early. If there should be a special Going-to-See-The-Latest-Disney-Movie one evening, just smoothly go the usual routine when you get home.
Make A Special Routine You Follow
For my babies, and grandson, the routine was bath, then story, ending with songs. This is a routine that helps to wind down and relax your child and getting into the warm pajamas and knowing the cuddle time is coming makes it even more special.
All kids have a special storybook they love. And they usually like to have that one read each night. Reading in “character” voices is always popular! Then sing those songs. We’ve always ended the routine with the soft and quietly-sung song as you rock them against your shoulder. All my children sucked their thumbs, so they are ready as soon as you put them against your shoulder and start humming.
My daughter’s song was always “Rock-A-Bye Baby” and I sang it over and over while rocking her side to side, and finally finishing up just humming. The same with my son but his song was “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.” Worked the same routine with him and they always went to bed easily. When it’s the same routine, they just know what to expect and go right along with it.
After the song, you just lay them into their bed, cover them and leave the room. I always had a small light in the room, and maybe that was just for me. When I look in on them at night, I had to be able to “see” them. But that is what they were used to and it worked for us.
It is just a simple plan but kids are used to a routine. When they go to preschool, there is a routine to the day, and knowing what to expect helps them to mental prepare for the next activity. And in this case, the activity is settling down to sleep.
Most Important! Never Make Bedtime A Punishment!
This is the key! The most important thing you can do to make bedtime easy and simple. But it is the hardest one for YOU!
You have to retrain your mouth.
Don’t ever refer to bedtime as if it is a punishment.
This is hard when you are used to saying “You are going straight to bed when you get home!” or some such remark when they have misbehaved. Or saying ” Straight to bed, you were told not to bite your sister!”
You can see where I am going here. A child’s reasoning is: “Oh wait, is Bedtime the big Bad Thing that I want to resist? Going to bed is a Punishment? ”
Here’s the thing: Always refer to bedtime positively. Bedtime is a fun and wonderful experience! Never associate it with a Penalty or Punishment. Keep it only associated with positive things!
This alone makes bedtime just a routine thing to do like eating breakfast or going potty like the big kids. Your kids will always go to bed easily and pleasantly, and believe me, this is a wonderful thing.
I remember when my daughter did this with her little boy and he just went to bed as naturally as she and her brother always did. He has always been easy to put to bed, as mine were.
This is a wonderful thing, putting your baby to bed and having time for yourself in the evening. Yes, time for yourself is not just a dream. What a concept!
I remember people visiting my daughter would be astounded when she put him to bed, either evenings or for naps. She would come back out and they ask “He’s not crying? No tantrum?”
Yes, try it out and you will find it a Wonderful Thing too!