Our parenting 101 notes. It’s all about routine.
So many parents ask my hubby and myself how do we get our kids to bed at such an early hour. Truthfully we never really thought about it. Both our respective sets of parents were pretty strict on bedtime routines when we were young and so it was a natural progression to establish this for our kids.
Settling into a routine.
From the early, early days of our babies, basically as soon as our little ones started sleeping through we had established the routine. At first, it was a bath, a feed and then bed. Gradually it morphed into dinner, bath, book and bed. And while the time frames have shifted a little from 6 pm bedtimes to 7 pm bedtimes, we stick to the routine.
It really comes down to the following steps.
Practice, reinforce and reiterate.
- Practice getting them ready for bed at least 20 minutes before you want them in bed. Feed them early, brush their teeth and bathe them.
- Reinforce the idea that it is bedtime nightly with a story time, pyjamas and cuddles. Have a good selection of kids books to read with nice pictures.
- Reiterate. They will try their luck by getting out of bed and playing. Put them firmly back in bed, make sure the room is dark and that the house is reasonably quiet. Our kids like to hear us talking or soft music. No loud noises.
Lastly, you (the parents) must persevere.
While we do recommend this routine from little and feel perseverance is key, we have friends who have only established a bedtime routine a couple of years in. Establishing a routine takes time. Create a routine and let them get used to the bedtime routine. Then practice, reinforce and reiterate.
What we have done, as the kids have aged, is shift the lights out time a half hour later every two years. And on Friday or Saturday nights, they stay up late, sometimes until 8 pm. However, usually by 7:30 pm they are bushed and asking for bath, book and bed! Mission accomplished.