Beneficial Bedtime Routines

October 17, 2011 at 09:00 | Posted in Family Time, Mamma Mia Rea | 2 Comments

ALEX Toys Mamma Mia Rea

The other night, when I told my three-year-old, Yonah, that it was time for bed, his response was to head for the door. “I want to run away,” he said. As frustrating as it was for me that he wasn’t happily following directions, I could at least understand where he was coming from. Who wants to go to bed when there are so many cool things to see… and break?

This is where my primary parenting mantra, “Distraction, not rejection”, comes in very handy. From the time he was born, Yonah has had a nightly bedtime routine: book, sandwich (where he gets tucked in the middle of the blanket), song and sleep. Our routine is something he enjoys, something he’s used to and ultimately, something that tells him it’s time for bed. So, I gave him a choice: “The Sneetches” or “Harold and the Purple Crayon”. He chose “The Sneetches” (the longer one, of course), and happily shuffled off to his room.

While I am definitely one of those Earth Mother types who encourages independence in her children, I’m not a fool. Boundaries and routine are just as important as independent decision making, because, quite frankly, kids don’t really know what’s best for them (exhibit A: frosting for breakfast). Kids feel safe when they know what to expect and they’re proud of themselves when they deliver what’s expected of them.

So while I don’t guarantee a meltdown-free bedtime every night, my experience has shown that a set routine will decrease the likelihood of a tantrum exponentially. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated: you can read a book together, do some relaxing stretches or yoga poses, sing a bedtime song or even have your child tuck a favorite toy in before they slip into bed. Whatever you decide, your child will fall asleep safe and secure that you’re there with them.

Nighty-night…

2 Comments »

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  1. Love a good bed time routine! We do 5 books, lights out, songs, prayer and snuggles. 🙂 You might find this interesting: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201110/why-young-children-protest-bedtime-story-evolutionary-mismatch

  2. Good to hear that there are still other parents out there with a routine! 🙂 I hear too many mommy’s complain about kids not sleeping in their own bed and not going to bed until LATE… This was nice to read for a change! 🙂


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