Never Fear the Night
Routine is such a key factor for kids having a good day. When our kids were born, we settled into a nightly routine that assisted in their ability to sleep through the night. Adelaide needed a comforting moment after being laid down. We tried the cry-it-out routine, but the early baby stages required a little extra TLC to help her get to sleep.
It was such a simple thing. We’d put her down to bed at night and within a couple of minutes, the tears and cries would follow. Meghan or I would go in, pick her up for a minute or two, whispering how it’s okay and then she was set for bedtime. We wouldn’t hear another peep until it was time for her to eat. This initial “I need one more hug” phase helped her, and eventually she wouldn’t cry for that extra hug.
Marshall on the other hand was a bit of a wild card. His early cries at bedtime or in the middle of the night came from something else. He had indigestion issues that caused him a great deal of discomfort. He’d get to bed early sometimes and then only cry when he was hungry. But, once he was fed, he wasn’t able to easily drift back to sleep. The poor dude was definitely upset more often during those earlier months. Fortunately, adding oatmeal to his bottles helped reduce the acid reflux and made him much happier.
The Nightly Routine Changes
As months and years go by, stages of the routine change and allow for a little independence on their part. At some point, after each dinner, it became, “Okay, go wash hands, brush teeth, and get in jammies.” Bedtime stories or books in bed will also happen, depending on how late of an evening it is. In some shape or form, books have been a staple in our family bedtime routine. As they’ve gotten older, enough to want to look through picture books or try to sound out words on their own, books in bed have given our kids that extra bit of a “Hey, you’re a big kid now” feeling.
I’ve also noticed there are times when a week has gone by and I think, “I haven’t read a bedtime story to you guys this week!” Not only do I feel guilty for letting gaps like this happen, it makes me question how good of a job I’m really doing as a father. How do I let so much time lapse without reading them a bedtime story? Yes, they usually have time in bed before they go to sleep, but shouldn’t it be branded in me to make sure I read to them?
As routine settles in, and the kids get used to theirs, how do I make sure to stay on top of things like reading to my kids before bedtime? I want to read them bedtime stories. That’s the most important step in making this part of a daily routine. I want my kids to be excited about the books they have or the stories they pick up at the library. I want them to look forward to another story, just like I do when I finish my latest read.
Brush Those Teeth
Always! Trust me, it’s not a strange thing when we tell our kids to get ready for bed and somehow the whole brushing those teeth thing gets overlooked. Now, it’s not every day or even each week, but if there’s any reason our kids might say, “Oh, yeah, I forgot,” it’s to brushing those pearly whites. In the end, it’s not a big deal because we just have them go back upstairs to brush. Our kids have so much energy that it is easy for them to goof off while getting dressed. One says something silly and the next thing you know, they’re both making faces and cracking each other up.
If there’s anything that makes it easy to overlook their forgetfulness, it’s the simple fact that they adore each other. They make each other laugh more than any other pair I know. Well, maybe except when I make my wife laugh on a daily basis. And when I say daily, I mean almost every day. And when I say almost every day, I mean every other month. Hey, a guy can only fall down the stairs once for a laugh before he realizes there has to be a better way to make his wife smile.
So, where was I? Oh, right. My kids might forget to brush their teeth during their nightly routine, but there isn’t a need to get frustrated. Just march them back upstairs and they’ll take care of it. We will also separate them to help them avoid distracting each other. One takes care of getting dressed, while the other brushes teeth. Although, there have been times when the person who started with teeth finished getting dressed before the other.
Let Them Own Their Nightly Routine
As you work out your own routine with your kids, remember to give them some slack if they don’t follow through with the plan each night. Sometimes, your kid might decide to get dressed with their clothes inside out. They do it because they think it’s funny or they just want to, and you know what, it’s okay. When our kids bring something to their nightly routine, Meghan and I think it’s good for them to showcase their personality.
So, are there any staples to your nightly routine with your kids? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media. You can find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
create a plan for when your kids get sick. Even if you can’t get everything done on your to-do list, you’ll be satisfied with what you were able to accomplish. That’s the power of making a list. Go down the list, one at a time, marking a line through it (or placing a check mark next to it) and moving on to the next one.