Secrets To A Peaceful Bedtime Routine

There was a video I saw recently about a mom and the incredible loving way that she did the bedtime routine with her children each night.  It sounded so serene and charming.  She had 2 or 3 kids, I can’t remember exactly, but she ended each day in the same way.  The kids got to choose 3 things for her to do with them before bed: she could sing with them, rub their back, tickle their feet, read a book, etc.  By the end of the clip I concluded that this mother was either a saint or delusional…I know, I’m kinda judge-y.


How in the world can this mom have enough patience to give kids, multiple kids at that, options and extra attention at the end of the day? I’m tapped out.  I don’t know about you but I’ve been tired for like the last 12 years or so?!


I think I’ve mentioned that I was a teacher before these stay-at-home-mom days. I know the importance of reading to kids.  It is inspiring, calming, helps with vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, imagination, etc.  It’s pretty much the most important skill that anyone can learn.  I use to read to my kids every night.  It got a little difficult when I was super pregnant because just getting through paragraphs and pages of reading left me short of breath.  Once I had that baby, reading was tough to do at night with the kids because the baby was a distraction and constant interruption…plus I was tired.  So I slacked.  I figured the older kids could read to themselves and my younger son and I read together for his homework each afternoon so I canned the bedtime reading routine.


Let me tell you bedtime has been chaotic in my house.  The kids go to bed and rarely stay there.  The boys laugh until they argue, my oldest daughter somehow ventures to their room to boss them around and my blood pressure spikes.  It has been a constant battle.  I’ve been contemplating separating the boys and taking away every possible privilege.  I usually dread bedtime.  A few days ago I went to a play date at a bookstore.  They do a cool story hour for toddlers in the morning and I joined a friend and her son with my little one.  We listened to a couple stories, did a craft and then browsed the children’s section.  I’m pretty sure that my daughter touched every stuffed animal in that place and took 30% of the books off the shelves while I followed her around and re-stocked everything.  At the end of this outing I was over the whole experience, but I felt obligated to make a purchase since we got treated to some free fun.  I saw a really cool Wizard of Oz book, it was hard back, baby blue, looked like we could treasure it forever and had beautiful gold-edged pages.  The best thing about it was that it was on a corner display on the route to the register so I grabbed it, bought it and floored it out of the place before we could do any more damage.


That night I piled on my bed with all 4 kids and started reading the book.  My youngest son was not interested, I think the picture of the girl with the red shoes on the cover was throwing him off.  Everyone made it through a chapter and went off to bed.  It was great.  The next night they all really looked forward to it and they begged for me to read longer.  Afterwards they went to sleep.  I came out to the living room and sat with my husband.  I looked at him as we quietly watched our t.v. show and realized that the kids went to bed calmly and quietly for the second night in a row.  I pointed out this fact and that the only change was the reading routine.  Hello?! Lightbulb!!


There’s this super backward phenomenon with raising kids…the more work you put in, the easier this parenting thing is…I know, it is SO messed up!!  I was cutting out bedtime routines because I was impatient at night.  But, putting in those extra 20 minutes with my sweet li’l munchkins made all the difference.  They got extra attention and I got peace and quiet afterwards.  


I know it is hard! I know you are tired and impatient! Keep up the good work, figure out the routine that works for you and stick with it.  A little extra effort goes a long way.