We like the mundaneness of routines in this house. It’s good for the kids and good for us. We all know what to expect when we wake-up and when we go to bed. I know some people may be cringing right now thinking our life must be awfully boring. Please don’t! We start and end the day in a routine, we eat our meals routinely but we don’t live a boring life. Our kids are rambunctious. We are spontaneous. However, we need to be able to get the kids up and dressed five days a week for daycare. We must get them in bed at a decent time so we can get them up.
Everyone does their night-time routine differently. I’ve got friends on both sides of the, what I like to call, the night-time misery spectrum. On the left side of the spectrum you’ve got the co-sleeping, baby/child doesn’t have a chance to whimper people and on the right side you’ve got the cry it out for hours people. I know, I’m being a bit exaggerant. I do believe being to extreme either way can be, well, problematic and cause bedtime woes.
I’m somewhere in the middle, probably more left than right. My daughter whose 4 almost 5 has a different routine than her brother whose 2 going on 3. My daughter’s routine is brush teeth, we read a book and then say prayers. She keeps a night-light on after we leave. She listens to Chris Tomlin’s CD and quietly looks at her book until she falls asleep. My son gets his medications, brushes his teeth, we snuggle and read a couple of books and then say prayers. He crawls into bed, I turn on the lullaby CD. I say good-night leaving him with a book. He’ll either lay there for a while and then call me back into his room or he’ll immediately ask this question: Mommy, can you pat my bum? I sit with him until he’s almost asleep and pat his bum.
Now, on occasion if we’ve had an unusually busy day and my daughter can’t quite settle down or if she’s had a nap, she will call me into her room. Her request is simple, Mommy, can you pat my bum? I, without hesitation sit down and pat her bum. I know those on the right are shaking their heads at me.
But, the truth is, it won’t be long before they won’t need their mommy to do such things And, quite frankly, I want to hold on to the sweet moments of watching my babies fall asleep as long as possible. I am also teaching my children they can count on me. They are important to me, they’re requests and needs are important to me. And those lessons will last into their teenage years when I want me kids to come to me with their needs. And so, this little investment of love and time, will pay off in the future.
With everyone giving out their opinions on how a bedtime routine should look, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the spectrum. It can be easy to worry and stress over whether you’re doing it right. I know, my style is very different from most of my friends. And with everyone wanting to give me their opinion on how I put my kids asleep, I could find myself running in circles trying to do everything “just right”.
But, I’ve got a secret for you…It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. It doesn’t matter what works for your friends. What matters is what works for your family and your kids. So as long your kids end up doing this….
And you’re not stressed, you should know, you’re doing it right!