Bedtime for Kids.
These three words represent something every parent struggles with a great deal. It makes you exercise your negotiation skills to get your kids to go to bed, and sometimes, when you are desperate, you will resort to bribery when faced with a kid having a meltdown. We’ve asked the creator of The Grey Canvas, Safinaaz, to share her top five tips on creating a no-fail bedtime routine for kids.
Two years ago, we started sleep training the twins. They were around seven months old when we noticed that they were hesitant to wake up in the middle of the night for a feed or diaper change.
I remember feeling elated; I think I may have even done a cartwheel or two, because I would finally be able to sleep throughout the night, uninterrupted. To ensure this, my husband and I created a bedtime routine early on to help relax and soothe them, so we wouldn’t face any bedtime meltdowns.
When the twins were around a year and a half in age, we found that they loved a routine because it is predictable. They knew what would come next so by the time they got into bed, they were ready to rest their heads on their pillows, and for me to turn off the lights. Now before I share my five-step method in creating a bedtime routine for your kids, it’s worth noting that the whole process begins before bedtime with how you interact with them. Before we take the kids to bed, I make a conscious effort to keep my voice calm and happy. No tickles (this is the hard part for me, because I love to hear their giggles), no running around, and no piggyback rides before bedtime. I also get the kids involved in some of the decision-making processes for bedtime to make the routine fun. Here are five steps to include in your kid’s bedtime routine.
ENJOY BATHTIME FUN
I always find taking a warm bath is the best way for me to relax after all the excitement I experienced throughout the day. The same thing can be said for your little one. A nice warm bath filled with their favorite bath toys is a great start to get them ready for bed. If your little one is not ready for bathtime, try enticing them with some stack and count buckets or squirting toys. Play a little game with them and sing a few songs. If they are still excited, swap out your regular bubble bath soap for one with lavender and oatmeal. After bathtime, the twins love it when I massage their legs with lotion and put on their fluffy robes.
LET THEM CHOOSE THEIR PAJAMAS
Ever since the twins turned two, they have started becoming more vocal about their decisions – especially when it comes to clothing. After bathtime, I lay out two different sets of pyjamas for them to choose. Once they have selected them, I start going over everything they did in that day, while getting them into their pjs. I will sometimes sing a song and get them involved in singing.
BRUSH THEIR TEETH
This is one step the kids absolutely love! I don’t even have to tell them to brush their teeth, they run to the sink and start pointing to their toothbrushes, so they can shove them into their mouths and clean their pearly whites.
If your little one causes a battle every time you have to brush their teeth, and you are tempted to skip a day, don’t! Brushing before bedtime is important to make sure that their mouth is clean from any bacteria that could build up and attack their new milk teeth. If you have trouble getting them to brush their teeth, get them involved in selecting their toothbrushes. Show them toothbrushes with their favorite characters, or an electric toothbrush. If that still doesn’t work, try brushing your teeth with them.
DO MINDFUL MEDITATION
If your little one is excited and is having trouble sleeping, meditation is a great way for them to relax and destress. This is even more helpful if your child wakes up in the middle of the night with nightmares. I found meditation to be a great way to balance my emotions and gain more awareness of my surroundings. I know the same is true for my twins, when we sit together on their favourite blanket and practice some breathing exercises, or lie down and have them blow out air from their lips slowly, and inhale the calm, soothing scents I have inserted in their diffuser.
Of all the things we do in their routine, this one is our favourite. (Our meaning both the kids and myself — I love storytime.) Right after they brush their teeth, they will race to
the bookshelf and jump up and down, yelling out which book they want me to read for bedtime. After they have selected their book, we cuddle up together in the rocking chair, or their bed, and read. I get them involved in reading by letting them finish a sentence (especially if I have read the book to them on numerous occasions) or if it’s a sing-a-long book, I get them to join me.
We have collected over 50 books for the twins, so every couple of weeks we like to swap out their books for new ones to keep storytime interesting. To keep things calm, I make sure all the books that are on the bookshelf will help relax them and get them mentally ready for bedtime. If the kids still have any pent up energy, I will play some calming sounds to help relax them.
To keep storytime engaging, make sure to visit your local bookstore every couple of weeks to pick up some new books. It’s also a great way to help your kids develop a love for reading.
HUGS AND KISSES
This might be my favourite routine, because I get a chance to hug and cover their face, hands, and feet with kisses. It’s also the time they throw themselves at me and cover my face with kisses and shout out ‘I love you’ over and over again. Seriously! What is better than squeezing your mini you and covering them with kisses?
After I have kissed them goodnight and told them ‘I love you,’ I turn off the lights in the room and blow them one final kiss before I close the door.
If your little one doesn’t like the dark, make sure you have a nightlight in the room, so they feel safe and secure. The goal is for them to always feel calm and relaxed so they can be lulled to sleep easily.
This post was sponsored by Indigo, aka my second home, and this bedtime routine for my twins has worked wonders in making sure they go to bed with little to no fuss…at 7 pm!