Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bedtime Overhaul

Last month I realized that bedtime had been sucking really hard.  It was rushed, tense and hectic, often involving tears.  The first step I took to address this was my own attitude.  Why does bedtime have to suck?  Why can't it be a lovely part of the day that everyone enjoys, looks forward to even?  (I admit to looking forward to bedtime, but for the wrong reasons.)  I personally enjoy going to bed; when I've reached the point in the evening when I decide to turn in, put on cozy pajamas, get into my cozy bed, read something that I've been looking forward to reading.  It should, and can, be that way for the boys too!  So I started putting a positive spin on the bedtime tasks.  Instead of "put your jammies on NOW, this is the last time I am going to ask." I've been saying (and believing, because you can't fake it with these guys,) "Oh yes!  It's going to feel so good to put on those cozy jammies!" and instead of, "It's time to get in bed, HURRY!" it's been, "Oooooh!  It's going to feel so good to snuggle up in bed after such a busy day."  After about a week of "The Change", I can't say they share the exact same sentiment, but they really do seem less resistant to bedtime.  Last week Joe and I had this exchange:
Me:  It's almost time to get ready for bed.
Joe:  I hate going to bed.
Me:  But it's so cozy and we get to have story time!
Joe:  Welllll...  I do like that part.

Another thing I did was make bedtime bags (from The Creative Family):

I got the super cute cloud flannel sheet for a dollar on my Super Saturday Thrift Store Outing with my awesome neighbor, Ann, and the ribbon was left-over from Joe's birthday.

The book says they "help ease the transition to bedtime" and the boys have really liked them.  I put their pajamas in there right out of the dryer and they choose a bedtime book sometime during the day, put it in their bag and it's there waiting for them when bedtime comes.  Matthew in particular likes the anticipation of getting to read the book he has chosen.  Plus, no more, "Are there any jammies in the drawer?  Are there any in the clean laundry pile?  ARE THEY ALL DIRTY???"  Now, they just reach in and there they are!
I also clipped some children's poems about bedtime, nighttime, sleeping etc to a ribbon and hung that in the bathroom.  I read them during toothbrushing and I think they get us in the mood.
The last thing I do of course, is try to start as early as possible, 6:15 even.  It's been going well, so much better than a month ago.

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