Now I have kids of my own and I understand my dad's frustration! Some days I'm just really, REALLY ready for bedtime, and if you're kiddos aren't, that can kinda... drive ya crazy. Haha!
We used to really struggle with Chelsea and tantrums at bedtime, but as time went on, Andrew and I discovered the things that Chelsea simply HAD to have before she went to bed, and the things she just really wanted. As soon as we figured those things out, bedtime got A LOT easier!
Here are some of the things we've done to eliminate bedtime tantrums (for the most part.)
The first thing we discovered that really changed the "bedtime game" was that Chelsea LOVED it when I made up stories to tell her at night time! Sometimes they were silly, other times, they were adventurous or even a little romantic (her favorites were the ones where she was the princess and she ended up with the prince, they grew up and she had lots of babies. haha!) It was fun for her to become one of the characters in the story, and it was fun for me to get creative with a new story. every. single. night.
We used story telling as motivation to get her to do the necessities (get in your jammies, brush your hair, brush your teeth). We'd explain to her that we only had X amount of minutes before bedtime so if she took too long doing the other things, there wouldn't be enough time for the story. Natural consequences, right?
As she grew, Chelsea became more and more interested in books, too, and also liked to sing a song, talk with us, and play, but of course we don't have time for all of that, so we give her a choice now. She can choose a story, a book (or two depending on the length of the book), for one of us to lie down with her, a song, or to stay up a little later to play.
The most recent struggle with our girls is Chelsea getting out of bed and turning on the light so that she and Alexa can play. She used to just use the night from her nightlight to play with her toys (I secretly loved finding her toys and books surrounding the little light on the wall!) but she was waking up grouchy in the morning because she didn't get enough, so, we took it away. No more night light. But then she just started turning on the regular light. So guess what? Now I take the ceiling light out! That one works basically every time because you can't really play without a light, can you?
Sometimes when my kids seem especially riled up, I'll do stretches with them. Just something simple for them to follow and slow their heart-rates a little. It gets them to hold still for two seconds at least!
Prayer is a necessity before bed! Not only does it give me a chance to hear about the kid's days, but it gives me an insight into what is really important to them (when they stop acting silly for long enough to say a really sincere prayer.) It's also a good transition from being a little crazy to lying down and going to bed. I love listening to their little voices talking to their Heavenly Father.
What has worked for you and your little one(s)? I'd love to hear your tips and ideas! Also, I didn't say much about Alexa and Barrett's routines because Alexa just follow Chelsea's suit and Barrett just eats and sleeps. I used to have to rock Chelsea to sleep, and sing to Alexa until she was out cold. Interestingly enough, those things still work for them. I guess they do carry some of their babyhood with them.
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Kiana at Glitter & Donuts