Our Perfectly Imperfect Bedtime Routine

Reading the title of this blog, I can guess what you’re thinking: another one of those typical mommy blogs that gives the same information I’ve read a million times on other blogs. Well, you’re wrong! We’re going to talk about bedtime routines, but this time I’d like to give some bedtime routine tips that will help kids and moms, too!

I’m a busy woman these days, and my career isn’t one that allows me to sit at a desk with static hours and a predictable schedule. Instead, I have days that begin at the crack of dawn and often don’t end until late at night. Sometimes a project runs overtime and I don’t get home when I expected to. Life can be hectic! Even stay-at-home moms and those with standard 9-to-5 careers find themselves drowning in work and responsibilities from time to time. These challenges make it difficult to establish a regular bedtime routine for our children.

If you’re like the majority of moms out there, your kids probably dread bedtime because for them it often means the end of a fun day with friends and family. Who wants the party to end, right? WE do, because we’re exhausted! LOL! Announcing it’s time for bed is frequently met with groans and crying and a seemingly never-ending chorus of “no’s.” This is probably the most important reason to have a routine in the first place. It lets your children know what to expect, and when to expect it. If you can stick to it, your children will be able to self-prepare and learn to comply peacefully instead of feeling jolted out of whatever activity preceded the zzz’s.

The other benefit of a routine is the part that helps YOU, mom. It focuses less on an exact time and more on the framework of it all. I’ll get to what I mean by that in a moment. As we all know, motherhood is one of those things you just have to learn as you go; all the books in the world can’t prepare you for everything you’ll encounter. One of the lessons I’ve learned regarding bedtime routines might go against what you’ve heard others suggest.

The biggest tip? Keep it small. I have realized that our personal bedtime routine needs to be travel ready and easily adjustable. It should work on a normal day to day basis at home, but also when things arise and we have to travel and stay in a hotel for work. Don’t get me wrong: most of the usual steps are there. We eat before bed, brush teeth and get in pajamas.

Next, I usually sing to them. Lately their request has been a song from Beauty and the Beast. We really get into it, and I act it out. It’s an entire fun production and we all have a blast with it. Then, both of my boys get ten second back scratches. Now, I’ll be honest and tell you that sometimes those ten second scratches happen three times each, but they know mommy’s limit. The last thing I do after tucking them in and turning out the light is hand them their stuffed animals and put on spa music. They love it. It’s soothing, and it completely sets the mood for a restful night’s sleep.

That’s all we do. You may be wondering where the magic is in my routine. It’s in the simplicity of it. I talk to moms all the time who tell me that their kids really struggle when they’re out of town or at grandma’s house. If dad gets home a little later than usual or something unexpected comes up, it throws the kids off and everything is awry. The key to what we do is that it doesn’t require an exact time on the clock or a particular atmosphere. No matter where we go, I can find spa music on my phone. I can always sing a song and give back scratches. If we’re flying and there’s an unforeseen layover that lands us in a hotel, I can hand them their stuffed animals and put them in pjs.

There will always be a million experts out there willing to tell you what you’re doing right or wrong. Sometimes you have to block all of that stuff out and listen to your instinct. Tailor your routine according to what fits your lifestyle. For us, it’s not about 7 pm on the dot. If it ends up being 7:30, or if mommy puts them to bed at grandma’s instead of their beds at home, my kids have adapted to and depend on the structure of a loving bedtime routine rather than a rote number on a clock. It makes for happy kiddos and an even happier mommy!

What does your bedtime routine look like?

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