Bedtime . . . Yep. I said it. My most beloved, yet stressful time of EVERY SINGLE DAY.
This mom often feels like Cinderella at bedtime. If my kids are up past 7:30pm? Our home becomes a pumpkin, and I turn into a monster. Okay, maybe I need to work on that Cinderella analogy . . .
In my family, we have three little ones to get down to bed. Two boys (three and five years old) and a ten month old baby girl. By the end of the day, the boys have worn me down. I can often be heard telling my husband, “Let’s just put them away.” Yes, I know that’s not the nicest phrase. But by 7 pm, I am so ready to no longer be a cook, referee, and personal assistant. I want to sit on the couch with a
bottle glass of wine, watch The Bachelor, and fold laundry.
My husband always provides me with a helping hand. We rush the boys through teeth brushing, sips of water, going potty, and hugs and kisses. This takes us about forty-five hectic minutes, and it doesn’t include the boys coming in and out of their rooms for mysterious monster noises or for various additional sips of water.
But here’s the crazy part:
As soon as it becomes quiet and we get the baby down, I immediately miss them all. I miss their sticky hands, smelly feet, and hearing the crazy songs they sing.
I have come to realize that the nights that are full of stories, wrestling, songs, and praying are the nights that make my heart happy. Nights that have more laughter than rushing are good for a mom’s soul. However, it’s often hard to force myself to slow down the bedtime routine and purely enjoy my little ones.
Here are some tips to help make bedtime less about rushing and more about cuddling.
Start your routine earlier.
This is key. Just because you add more cuddles does not mean that bed time has to be later. You just need to start 10 to 20 minutes earlier.
Bedtime still needs to be a routine.
If there is not a routine, bedtime will only continue to be drawn out and inconsistent. Studies have shown that kids with routines go to bed earlier and easier. Below is what our routine looks like. I know it looks like a lot of steps, but they only take a short amount of time.
This routine even calms me after a crazy day. It provides closure and allows me to move on to my nightly chores and pay full attention to my husband.
Give them time to breathe.
Our relaxing time is just a time for them to listen to the music and give them time to breathe. During this time, we rub their backs and calmly chat about their day.
Invite Mozart and Beethoven into your bedtime routine.
End the day with soft classical music. Be sure to play music that is softer and without voices.
Lastly, be firm — but still have fun.
One book is enough, I promise.
Try some of these tonight and see how they work for your family. As much as I just want to “put them away” sometimes, I also know that my children’s hearts and souls are in my hands. This makes me more inclined to create a bedtime that revolves more around cuddles and less around rushing.