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I was just taking his pajamas out of the closet when I saw him hurrying to put his PJs on. I didn’t even have the time to express my amazement that he ran out of the room.
The next thing I heard was the water running in the bathroom sink. I slowly approached the bathroom door and I saw his reflection in the mirror. He was brushing his teeth.
I returned to the bedroom and in a few moments he entered the room and announced proudly: “I’m ready, mom!”.
Although it seemed hard to believe for me at that point, he was right. He managed to finish the bedtime routine in a record time and there he was, smiling at me.
“Okay”, I said, “go get the book!”
He brought the book and we both laid in the bed. I turned the light off and turned on the flashlight.
I read him the book in the dark, using the flashlight to see the text. In the end, wee played for a little bit pointing the flashlight on the ceiling.
Then he went to his bed and started listening to his favorite audiobook.
After a few stories, he fell asleep. And I still couldn’t believe how fast and peaceful it all went.
No bedtime struggles. No negotiations. Just smiles and cuddles.
photo credit: evgenyataman / shutterstock.com
Making bedtime more peaceful
I am a big fan of positive parenting and of finding gentle solutions for my parenting struggles. But making bedtime peaceful was a challenge that was not easy to deal with!
After a few weeks of trial and errors, I found some great activities that help my son get to sleep without power struggles. Also, in time, I’ve discovered some tips that really made a difference for making bedtime easier.
One of the tips that had a great impact was creating a bedtime routine for my son.
(If you want to download our checklist and use it with your kids, you can click here to download the printable Bedtime Routine Checklist.)
But sometimes following this routine took forever! My patience is already limited in the evenings so it was a real challenge to maintain my calm through the process.
One night, as I was waiting on the couch for him to end all the tasks on the list, I tried to imagine the bedtime routine from his point of view.
As a general rule, kids don’t want to go to sleep. They want to play more and sleeping doesn’t seem fun at all!
The bedtime routine ends with them going to sleep so they will do their best to prolong the process as much as possible.
Also, in many cases, bedtime means being separated from the parents and this can bring additional fears and worries.
The easy change that transformed our evenings
I realized that things need to change if I want to make bedtime more peaceful and enjoyable for both of us.
I noticed that my son was doing things in slow motion when it came to the bedtime routine because the end of it was something that he didn’t really want to do: going to bed.
So I decided to change the end!
I wanted my son to look forward to ending the bedtime routine! And the solution that I found was to add a bedtime ritual to every single night.
I told him that every night, after the bedtime routine, we will do something nice together. We discussed different options and we came up with some ideas.
I explained to him that we need time to enjoy the activity together before getting too late. So I asked him to be quick with finishing the bedtime routine.
And it worked great!
He was looking forward to the bedtime ritual and our evenings changed for the better!
photo credit: Africa Studio / shutterstock.com
Why this solution works so good (+ ideas for you to try)
I believe that this simple idea works so good because it focuses on connection! Kids want to connect with us and get our full attention and a bedtime ritual is a great way to offer them this!
If you want to try this, here are some easy ideas of bedtime rituals that you can start with your child:
– Create a special character and tell your child a short story about this character every night. The character can be a girl or a boy of a similar age to your child, an animal that they like, or a superhero with awesome powers. You can use these stories also for addressing different concerns or worries that your child has, in a playful way.
– Start a gratitude journal and write in it every night with your child. Think about a thing that each of you is grateful for that they and write it down in the journal.
– Start a “3 happy moments” ritual. Every night, share 3 happy moments from your day. Then invite your child to do the same thing. Doing this exercise every night will bring both of you more joy and connection.
– Sing together some songs that you like. Or each of you can share a different song and sing it to each other.
– Read a book in the dark using just a flashlight. The dark will help the child get in a sleepy mood and the idea of reading in the light of a flashlight will make storytime more special.
There are plenty of ideas that you can try! Just think about what your child likes and create a ritual based on it. If you do it every single day, it will become a very nice moment to enjoy with your child. It will bring you closer and it will make bedtime much more enjoyable!
When to use this solution
Life with young kids gets sometimes very busy! And I know that you will not always have the time and energy for a bedtime ritual.
But I’m pretty sure that you neither have the energy for endless bedtime battles.
So I would totally recommend you to try this idea when you feel that bedtime is always bringing power struggles in your home. It can really bring the change that you need!
I used this method several times until now and I have tested a few ritual ideas depending on what my son enjoyed more.
In the periods when we have a lot of time to connect during the day I manage to make bedtime peaceful even without a ritual. I just use these ideas and usually, I am able to end the day on a positive note.
But when we are going through more tense periods or when my son faces challenges or changes that he needs to handle, a bedtime ritual makes a huge difference!
It helps us connect and this helps us improve our relationship. He feels loved and I am happy to watch him go to sleep with a smile on his face.
If you never tried a bedtime ritual before, don’t hesitate to start one today! You’ll certainly enjoy having a more peaceful and connecting bedtime!
>> Want to remember this? Share these ideas to your favorite Pinterest board!
P.S. If you want to download our checklist and use it with your kids, you can click here to download the printable Bedtime Routine Checklist.
photo credit preview photo: choreograph / depositphotos.com