Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Avoiding the Bedtime Battle

My oldest is a day away from being 2 years and 9 months, and a few days ago he decided he wasn't going to nap anymore. I had been dreading this moment for a while, but now it's here I couldn't be happier!

When Liam was napping, he went to bed anywhere from 9:30 to 10:30pm, depending on how well he slept during the day. Now he is going to bed at 7:30pm, sharp. When you don't have naps to set the precedent of how tired he/she will be, you can have a consistant bedtime. This is one thing I love because it means having time to myself in the evenings, and children really appreciate the consistancy.

Bedtime routines are a great way to give your child plenty of notice through non-verbal cues that bedtime is coming, and help them to relax and unwind. This is key for avoiding those bedtime battles. For us, our bedtime routine allows for some one on one time with myself and Liam, that he doesn't get a lot of due to his pesky little brother.

Routines can be formal or informal, they can include elabrate massages, or be as simple as reading a book. What's important is that they are consistant and they fit into your lifestyle.

This is our little routine:

We start our bedtime wind down immediately after dinner. First, about half hour of play time. Then a bath, if needed, and pjs. I let him choose one show (Team Umizoomi is what he's into right now) then we brush our teeth, read a book, have a little chat about our day and what tomorrow might bring, then bed.

One thing I find helpfull is to break our routine into steps, pairing something he doesn't like to do with a reward. 'It's time to put your pjs on and then you can watch a show', 'First we are going to brush our teeth, then we can read a book'. So far he has gone to bed everynight without any shinanigans.

Does anyone else have a bedtime routine? What's yours?