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Bedtime Routine

Bedtime: Some You Win, Some You Lose

Mom to six active kids

As much as I try to stick to a calm bedtime routine, now and then there are those nights that don’t go as planned.

Because I have six kids who are active in sports, we often get home late from a baseball game and end up scrambling to get ready for bed. These nights, the kids have a hard time settling down for the night, and I admit to getting frustrated and yelling at them to “just get in bed and go to sleep!”

We’ve all been there. Maybe we’ve gotten home late from a special occasion, perhaps we have a sick child or our toddler has just learned the fine art of procrastination. How do we keep everything from falling apart at the end of the day when these things happen?

If it’s past your child’s bedtime because you’ve been out late for some reason, try not to rush her to bed. Rushing around will only set everyone on edge.

If your child is sick, keep in mind that he may not go to bed like he usually does despite your best efforts. He also may not sleep through the night because he's having a hard time breathing through a stuffy nose or is running a fever. Remember that this is temporary and be sure to give him extra attention before bed.

I’ve found the best way to deal with bedtime procrastination is to say what you mean and mean what you say. If your rule is 20 minutes of reading, stick to that. Similarly, if your rule is 20 minutes of story time, don’t skip out after five minutes. If you’re consistent, kids will catch on and stop trying to procrastinate.

We’re all going to have evenings when bedtime doesn’t go as planned, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip the stories, cuddles and routines that make bedtime special. Skipping all those bedtime moments can result in hurt feelings and frustration, not to mention wet beds and nighttime sheet changes. Remember, especially on rushed nights, these special bedtime moments can create a lifetime of memories.

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