Calmer bedtimes

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by FGMH, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. FGMH

    FGMH Well-Known Member

    I am wondering whether I need to change our bedtime routine. I like the evenings to be calm and peaceful and right now we have way too much shouting, running around (the kids) and scolding (me) around bedtime.
    Our routine mostly looks like this:
    6 pm or a little earlier: dinner
    6.30 pm: I go upstairs to the bathroom with all the kids, they brush their teeth, then it's a quick shower for the big kids while I wash and change our 18 month-old.  Although they all love baths, baths are rare and often happen before dinner because they do not seem to relax my kids but result in wild play, a soaking bathroom and toddler tears when bathtime is over. PJs.
    6.50 pm Storytime, prayers and bed. I usually read to the big kids for 30 minutes or so while the toddler looks at picture books or plays or nurses if he is really tired.
    7.15 pm Baby and I leave the big kids' bedroom and he looks at another book with me and is nursed and cuddled to sleep.The big kids may read with small reading lights until I go downstairs (7.45 pm).
    I am usually alone with the three kids in the evenings, DH rarely comes home early enough to see the kids awake. If he does he reads to the big kids and I do baby bedtime.
    Until we settle down for stories the evenings can be pretty loud. Our twin boy in particular is hard to keep on track while getting reading for bed and will start running around the house, jumping on beds, shouting etc. Of course the toddler either joins the fun or starts crying becuase he is too tired to deal with the excitement and noise. If I put the baby to bed first the noise and activity level stays the same until I come for stories, so of course it takes ages to settle the baby.
    I would also like some one-on-one time with the big kids at the end of the day, DD in particular often wants to talk and I just don't know how to fit that into the routine.
    Any ideas? What do/did your routines look like with kids of multiple ages?
  2. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'm wondering if a mood shift for the house could help. Bath all alone for the big kids, or even a shower, with candles lit and soft classical music playing might help.

    In addition, maybe try to play an active/silly game with your big kids after dinner to get it out earlier?

    We do stories/bedtime 1 kid at a time so that each kid can chat with us before bed.
    1 person likes this.
  3. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I'll share our bedtime routine - maybe something will be helpful? When both Justin & I are home we divide and conquer but when I'm home alone this is what I do:
    7:00pm - everyone starts their lists (we made morning and bedtime routine lists with pictures of all the things our kids have to do and put them in page protectors - they check off each item with a dry erase marker so we can reuse the checklists). I don't nag them about specific jobs but I do call out times "10 minutes till story time" "5 minutes till story time" etc
    7:20pm - start stories. If anyone isn't finished their list they have to finish it before joining us for story time. Each child gets to pick one book.
    7:40pm - the girls go for quiet time (reading, coloring, talking, etc) in our bedroom while I nurse Emmett to sleep.
    8:00pm - girls come back to the kids' room (they all share one room) and I tuck them into bed, we may chat quietly if they have something they want to share, and say goodnight.

    - on shower nights, they usually shower immediately after dinner.
    - we have white noise machines in both the kids' room and our room. If anyone does get rowdy, it usually prevents anyone else from getting woken up.
    - I usually try to fit in my one-on-one time with each child throughout the day. It just doesn't work to consistently do it during the bedtime routine, for us.
    1 person likes this.
  4. mama_dragon

    mama_dragon Well-Known Member

    I actually started using a timer again.  They get 10 minutes to get PJs on, brush teeth, find their stuffy and get into bed and be reading when it goes off.    It doesn't seem like much time but anymore than that and they become wild things. 
    Same thing in the morning.  I put on a timer for 10 minutes.  They must be dressed, shoes on and teeth brushed.
  5. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    That time of day is so hard, especially in winter when it's dark so early and cold.  In good weather, I let them play outside and expend energy until shower time.  And honestly, this time of year, they usually get some TV or LeapPad time between dinner and shower time. 
    My kids are really calmed by reading, too, so I often try to read to them BEFORE showers to prevent the craziness.  And then it's showers, brush teeth, and to bed in quick order without time to get crazy again.
  6. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Have you tried showers in the morning? I recently switched to that.. our kids take turns having a shower each morning as they don't need to shower every day yet. It has made the evenings and the mornings a lot calmer. There's no post-bathtime craziness at night, and one kid can get dressed, feed the dog, and start breakfast while the other one is in the shower.
    If we don't have an activity in the evening, I also like to get the kids out for a quick walk around the block after dinner. The fresh air and bit of exercise calms them quite a bit.
    We've also started using a bedtime pass. I expect them to be laying in bed at 7:30, reading books, and lights out at 8. If they get up any time during that for whatever, they have to give me their pass and they only get one for the night. At first they were using it all the time, now it's rare, and usually for an extra hug. If they are acting crazy and don't go to bed on time, they lose their pass for the evening. It's made a HUGE difference for us. We went from really chaotic bedtimes and fifty million excuses to very manageable evenings.
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