Friday, January 7, 2011

Tackling the Bedtime Routine.

For years I struggled with our bedtime routine or the lack of one. I wanted our nights to be stories, hugs and kisses but most nights we were far from that. I hate putting our kids to bed too mad and frustrated to kiss them goodnight and wish them sweet dreams. Finally, because of consistency on Chase and I's part we found something that works! It can still be a challenge but I don't dread it like I used to. Here are some things we do that help. Hopefully there will be something that works for you!

1. Make a plan of what you would like to see happen and stick too it for at least a couple of weeks until it becomes the new routine. We make exceptions once in a while now and in the summer we start the routine later, maybe at 9.
2. Inform your kids of the new plan hours before bedtime and remind them of it.
3. Set an alarm on your phone to announce bedtime. I choose the "ALARM" sound on my phone because it's loud and it gets their attention. This way the phone is the bad guy :).

The Plan:
-Alarm goes off at 8 p.m.
-Kids moan :)
-We all pick up. The kids each have assignments. Ben is over the Family room so he fixes the pillows on the couches how I like. Jonah has the mudroom so he puts shoes away.
-We all go upstairs. I turn off all lights on the main floor so they know we are done with food, computer or anything else on the main floor.
-Once upstairs it's the usual pj's, teeth brushed, prayer and reading till lights out at 9:00.

That's the plan, Halle is my best at just doing what she is supposed to. The boys are wild indians so I have some incentives for them. I need my boys to be good while I read with Halle and put Luke to bed.
-I fold down my bed and throw on a bunch of pillows. They are allowed to read in our bed if they have done what they were asked and are reading quietly. This really helps if they are fighting or one is causing problems, the one who is being good gets rewarded and separated from the other. They love to snuggle into our bed with a book so it works.
-The other incentive I told you about. Foot rubs with yummy smelling lotion for anyone who does just what they should without me asking twice. I use this when Chase is at YM's or out of town. They love this one on one attention, they talk while I rub their feet and i'm all ears.

If they will not obey they lose privileges for the next day and I put them to work. I let them know that this is my time to clean up the house a bit and if they have too much energy to go to bed they can help me. They pick up the toy room or I hand them a rag and they wipe down walls. They usually learn that they would rather read in bed and if not I can find plenty for them to do and I get a clean house!

So there it is! Probably more info than you wanted but it's working and I hope it helps you with ideas!

1 comment: said...

Your the best Amber! Thanks for sharing with me. I love your creativity and also how you stop problems before they start. I am SO excited to try these things out immediately! I admire you as a mother and know you are doing such a great job with your family. Your family is so lucky to have you. I'm lucky to have you too. I love the alarm idea. I will seriously smile inside when that thing goes off for the first time and think of you! Thanks again!