I’ve been realizing that bedtime for the kids has been taking for-ev-er lately. Bedtime around here is 8:00. That is supposed to mean they are in bed at 8:00, but too often it means we are starting the process at around 8:00, which means they aren’t in bed until 9:00! I don’t think this process should take an hour! And that is not counting baths, which we don’t do every day.
I want my bedtime to be 10:00 (Rarely actually happens), so if the kids aren’t in bed until 9:00, that gives me less than an hour to: get things done/relax/read/spend time with Mr. RSS.
Here’s the kids’ typical bedtime routine:
- Big kids (ages 7 and 5) get themselves ready for bed and brush teeth. I get Anna ready for bed.
- Each big kid picks a book for me to read to them, then I read a Bible story or 2 (short – from a children’s Bible)
- Prayer time: we each usually pray each night
- hugs/kisses/tuck in
The things that are making it take loooonger:
- Big kids taking too long to get ready for bed – distracted with playing, etc instead of staying focused on the task
- As the kids get older, they are requesting longer books
- Another thing about getting older – their prayers are getting longer
- Chit-chat about the day, or the next day, or totally random things like how many days until their next birthday
- Requests for water, wanting a certain stuffed animal, etc
I used to think of bedtime with the kids as a sweet time together, but I have started to dread it most nights, and that doesn’t make for a sweet time at all.
Time to simplify! Here are some things I am starting:
Starting the bedtime routine earlier
7:30 on a typical night, or 7:00 if it is a bath night. This means that I need to get dinner on the table on time! I am doing better with this.
Using a Timer
The big kids have 10-15 minutes(I’m working on figuring out the right number) to get ready for bed including PJs, brushing teeth, bathroom, getting water for themselves if they need it, and getting any animals they want with them.
If they are not ready in time, then no time for reading that night. This is working really well so far!
One child picks a book each night, or I read a chapter book. Another thing I tried for the first time last night, is “Read on your own night.” This idea came from my friend Vicki. Love it! I actually stayed in the room and put laundry away while Ella read a book to Gabe. I’m keeping the Bible story time the same.
Simplifying Prayer Time
You guessed it, one person prays each night instead of all of us. Or maybe we’ll have one kid and one adult pray. We’ll see what works. Of course they can always pray more on their own! I have to say that I love hearing the kids pray, for lots of reasons. One time Ella’s prayer was, “Dear God, please help everyone who has boogies that won’t come out.” So sweet.
By the way, Mr. RSS often helps with the kids’ bedtime, too. The kids especially love when he reads to them, except that I’m the better pirate singer.
I think simplifying the kids’ bedtime routine is going to make it more enjoyable for all of us! I’ll be sure to give you an update sometime.