Since we turn the clocks back this weekend, I am already starting to think about the bedtime crazy this will cause with our sweet kids. It’s so funny to me that whether we are setting the clocks forward or backwards the kid’s sleep schedules still get totally affected. It doesn’t seem to matter if they gain or lose an hour their bodies just want to flip out a little.
I’ve found that making bedtime a little more fun is a way better plan than fighting the process. So in light of this weekends time change here are my favorite ways to make bedtime more fun and a little easier!
1. Create a comfy bed with multiple pillows
Sometimes kids can’t sleep because they are uncomfortable, or don’t feel cozy, or don’t like the color pillow they are laying on. Their excuses are so many! Starting the process out with a fun loving bed that is filled with comfy pillows that they’ve chosen can really help. For both the kid’s rooms we let them pick out a number of pillows they loved. My daughters bed is filled with this pillow, this one, and this one. It’s a little thing in the bigger scheme of our entire house, but really has helped our bedtime routine. When one kid is feeling sad about going to sleep we remind them how wonderfully comfy their big pillow is and it makes the bed seem a little nicer.
2. Stacks of books, and water, and, and, and everything else they could need
A hinderance to bedtime being the actual time my kids fall asleep is the constant up and down for the one more thing they have forgotten. To quickly nip this habit, both kids have a nice shelf right near their bed and about 10 minutes before bedtime we remind them to start grabbing everything they need for the night. They fill waters, pull books and gather all their nighttime necessities before they go to bed. We then hold firm to our, “Do not negotiate with terrorists” mentality and don’t allow the kids to get up for anything (save a potty break) once they’re in bed.
3. The right book to inspire sleep
We all have our favorite stories that put us right in the mood to sleep. I received a copy of the newly released book, The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep, and it is a great bedtime story. The sweet text is a relaxing segway right into sleep time. I also love that the book is written with older kids in mind so while it’s an adorable picture book it has text that my 7 year olds can really connect with. We almost always read a story before bedtime since it allows everyone to relax and begin the process of resting. Grabbing a new book every now and then makes everyone happy.
4. Making festive and consistent rituals
Consistency in bedtime is always touted as the best way to make it happen. We have our rituals that involve sharing one thing we are grateful for, singing amazing grace and praying together before bed. I also love to just lay down next to each of the kids for a minute – this time has become such a sweet time for them to just share anything that’s been on their mind. Having fun rituals, like singing a favorite song every night, can make the evening go much better.
5. Small morning surprises like balloons
Whenever there’s a time change, jet lag from a trip, or something else that might throw off our schedule I love to promise a morning surprise. Sometimes we turn this into a game… the first kid asleep gets a doughnut in the morning. Sometimes it’s a reward for everyone, “let’s go to bed on time and everyone will end up with balloons on their floor in the morning!” My friend Carly does this on her kids birthdays every year, so sweet. I’ve grabbed her idea and started doing it on random days, just for fun – to reward a good night’s sleep. I figure if chores and good grades are important enough to reward with something fun, then definitely sleep should be as well.
What are your tricks for getting your kids to sleep?
PS. 3 fun bath ideas
Add variety to your child’s bedtime routine with the latest book from the author of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep, the New York Times and international bestseller that parents have been raving about! Enter to win a free copy of your own by leaving a comments below (US addresses only).