Thursday, June 28, 2012

Better Bedtimes: Tips and Tricks for More Peaceful Bedtimes with Your Kids

It’s eight o’clock at night, and you’re tired.  The kitchen is still a mess from dinner, the kids are still in their school clothes and you need to toss in a load of laundry.  You check your email and clean up the kitchen, and it’s already eight thirty.  When you finally have yourkids in jammies and get them in bed, they all want a story.  Or they need water.  And before you know it, it’s after nine at night you’re about ready to scream.

Sound familiar?

Bedtimes can be quite chaotic for some families.  After a busy day at work or home, parents are tired and in need of downtime themselves.  But before anyone can sit back and relax, there is dinner.  And let’s not forget about homework and activities.  Add in a reading log and picking up toys and many parents don’t sit down before ten o’clock.  And when they finally do sit down they can barely keep their eyes open.

Bedtimes don’t have to be chaotic.  The trick is to start a routine that works for your family, and to stick to it as much as possible.  Here are a few easy tips to help you and your family get on your way to better bedtimes:

Don’t Wait to do Homework

Weeknights are often very busy for most families.  There is very little time to get everyone fed, homework done and to their activities.  If possible, try to get in the habit of having your kids do their homework after school.  If you can get them to have a snack and start their homework, it leaves less to do when bedtimes start rolling around later that evening.

Stay Away from Electronics

Television and computers are huge time wasters.  It’s very easy to jump on the computer to check your email and find yourself still online twenty minutes later.  Make an effort to send and check emails during the day, the same for phone calls if possible.  Keep your focus on your children and what needs to be accomplished after you get home from work.  Once they are in bed, crank open that laptop or find your favorite show.

For kids, television and video games can cause many bedtime problems if boundaries aren’t set.  Decide on times that are okay for your children to watch television and play video games, and stick to your schedule.  Bedtimes become a battle when your kids are engrossed in their favorite show or in the middle of a video game.  Tell your kids they can play after they finish their homework, or only between the hours of four and six.  If all else fails, save video games for the weekend.

Create a Routine

After you’ve established homework and television guidelines, make a bedtime routine for your kids.  An hour before bedtimes, limit loud and stimulating activities.  As much as Dad loves to tickle and chase the kids, this is not the ideal time of day for stimulating play.  Stick to quiet imaginative play, books or bedtime shows.  A half hour before you’d like your kids in bed, it’s time for pajamas and brushing teeth. Leave enough time for a book and a talk with your child.  Kids thrive on one on one time with their parents, and bedtime is the ideal opportunity to talk with your kids.  

Finally, once it is lights out, tell your children they have to stay in bed.  No requests for water, no last minute emergencies.  Make it clear that bedtime is lights out, and there are no exceptions.  

After a few days of sticking to a bedtime routine, you’ll be amazed at how your children will settle down for bed.  The trick is to identify bedtime trouble makers, such as after dinner video games or wasting time on the computer.  Once you have your bedtimes ironed out, you’ll have more time for yourself (and your email).  And better yet?  The house will be quiet.

About the Author:

Mikki Hogan is a proud mother of eight who enjoys helping other parents through her own personal experiences. Whether sharing BOB Revolution stroller reviews, recommending healthy recipes kids enjoy or B Ready reviews for active parents Mikki aims to help others like her enjoy their families in today’s hectic lifestyle.

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