Do you struggle with your back to school bedtime routine? Have kids who are too tired to listen, eat breakfast in the morning, or make sound judgments throughout the day? Can the morning rush and/or putting your kids to bed be one of your least favorite parts of the day?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
“I consider our bedtime routine to be my parenting secret weapon!” –Stacy
A consistent bedtime helps create a positive home life, structured environment, and familiar routine children crave. They know what to expect from day-to-day, and learn how to behave accordingly. These simple steps can lead to more confident, self-sufficent children and foster deeper relationships between parent and child.
A – Arrive Early
Summer means staying up later. Get your kids ready for back to school by starting early. Adjust their sleep schedule by 15 mins at a time until they are rising at a normal hour for the school year. This is the single best thing you can do for yourself before school starts!
B – Brush your teeth
C – Clean Up
Have everyone pitch in to pick up for 5 mins before bed and you’ll be MUCH less stressed in the morning.
D – Daily Reflection
Bedtime is the perfect time for reflection. Each night before bed, we go around the room quickly sharing our favorite parts of the day and touching on areas that might need improvement- disrepecting an adult, not sharing with a sibling, talking too much in school. Tip: This is also a great time to highlight any above and beyond behavior you would like to encourage or discuss a particularly sad event your child may have experienced.
E – Establish a routine
Strive to start bedtime at the same time each night, do things in the exact same order so everyone becomes familiar with the routine. Note: Our family’s routine takes about an hour, so we plan accordingly.
F – Family First
Just like eating dinner together, bedtime is a special time for families. For many, this might be the only time we have to truly connect or spend time together. Take advantage of it!
G – Go with the flow
H – Have a backup plan
You won’t always be able to start on time, or have an entire hour to spend with the kids, maybe one parent is working late or travelling. That’s Ok, but the alternate plan should be as well laid out as the everyday plan to keep the overall routine consistent.
I – Ignore the rules
Every now and then …
J – Just have fun
Bedtime doesn’t have to be a chore.
K – Keep it Simple (K.I.S.S.)
In all matters of parenting.
L – Laugh it off
When things don’t go as planned, you’ve been having a bad day, or the kids just have too much leftover energy — I find tickles, and jokes, and just being generally silly works like a charm and improves all of our attitudes.
M – Make things easy
Make it easy on yourself, do as much tonight as you can for yourself tomorrow. Enlist the whole family to help to make things even easier!
N – New pajamas make a new bedtime routine even more sweet
And we are loving how soft and cuddly our BeePosh pants make us feel.
O – Organize
P – Pick out clothes for the next day
Q – Quality time, Quality time, Quality time.
R – Read a story
We all know how important reading with your kids can be, bedtime is a great time for story time.
S – Say your prayers
T – Take a bath or shower
Some families may not do this every night, you know what works best for you.
U – Understand some nights will be more difficult than others
V – Value your values
It can be hard for children to comprehend life lessons. When you recognize one, follow up with your kids to make sure they are picking up on the right signals. Have a discussion about why your family feels this way and what you want everyone to learn from this event.
W – Wake up at the same time everyday
X – Start with a potty break and end with one too
Y – Yapping is encouraged
I wouldn’t trade the hour before bedtime for anything in the world, the TV’s are off, and we are all focused on each other. This is where most of our best conversations occur. I want to keep that line of communication open and encourage more conversations like these to crossover into all parts of our day.
Z – Zones are your friend
Have a designated area for all the things your kids need to put away or deal with on a daily basis – backpacks, lunch boxes, shoes, tooth brushes, pajamas, etc.
There you have it, the ABC’s of a successful bedtime routine. Does your family do something similar? I’d love to hear what works for you in the comments below.
These Back to School tips are brought to you by Melissa & Doug, written by our Blog Ambassador Stacy Teet. Stacy is the mom behind KidsStuffWorld. Her writing is chock-full of tips for enjoying parenthood, saving money, entertaining your kids and making your family’s life a bit simpler. See all Blog Ambassador posts by Stacy → Facebook | Google+ | Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram | Blog