Discovering life Lessons you teach your kids when you have a bedtime routine every day
Our kids need a bedtime routine to help them thrive, sleep better and be happier. But does anyone else struggle to get your kids to go to bed when you ask and sleep through the night? So how do we do it? How can we get them to sleep and establish a bedtime routine that works?
It’s Thursday night and it’s bible school night for our son. And this is just one of the weeknight things we are involved in depending on the season. Sometimes it’s T-ball, softball for Dad etc. But regardless of the day or the week bedtime battles are just not a thing in our house.
How does a bedtime routine help kids?
Being a sleep deprived mom during the first year of your babies life I am sure you can speak to the wonders it is when you get a full night’s sleep. Sleep is a must for growing kids and minds. Their bodies rejuvenate and growth hormones are released. It strengthens their immune systems and minds. Research shows that children who go to bed after 9:00 p.m. take longer to fall asleep, wake more often at night and get less overall sleep.
I know when my kiddos are fully rested they are happier, more active and creative. When kids don’t get enough sleep they are more irritable and are prone to more behavioral problems.
Our kids thrive on the fact that they know what is coming next. Our kids do well on routines and most kids typically do. Routines give them a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline.
What is the best way to establish a bedtime routine?
With all of our kids, we found that starting a bedtime routine from a very young age was one of the best things we could have ever done. We have a large age gap between our kids and even with that it still works like wonders. Our sixteen year old prospers just as well as our four and one year old does.
Start a Bedtime Routine as an Infant
From birth, I started the bedtime routines but, it really doesn't establish itself until around the six-week mark when babies finally start to show signs of sleepiness and adjusting to the outside world.
I will also add we don’t co-sleep and all of my children have been in a separate bed from birth. The first couple of months the baby is in our room but in a bassinet/pack and play setup and after a couple months, I switched them to their own room into the crib and with a full-screen baby monitor.
This is the way we started out kids when they were babies
- 7 pm bath/lotion/PJ’s etc
- 7:30 pm bottle
- Wrap/wearable sleep blanket
No matter what, we stick to bedtimes unless it is an activity night but the same routine will happen in the same order just at a later time.
If there is one thing that I cannot stress enough is how consistency with a bedtime routine has made such a huge impact. Think about when your child is/was learning a new skill, such as their first words, actions etc. Repeatedly they were introduced or told how to say or do the skill. This very thing helps them to understand and master it.
All of our kids can be told the very same words (no matter their age). When we tell them “It’s shower time”, they immediately stop what they are doing and proceed to the kids' bathroom. Even my one year old when told “ok it is time to take a bath now” will climb the steps all the way to the bathroom and tries to brush her teeth. I could not make this stuff up if I tried. She literally climbs the stool and tries to the reach for the toothbrush.
How many hours should your kids sleep?
There are many studies on how long babies, toddlers, kids, and teens should sleep. Also, a ton of sleep charts to help you determine the best amount. Babies need more sleep and then the chart adjusts as they grow.
Adjusting the sleep routine as they grow
If you were to enter my home at 8 pm on most days again when there are no activities you won’t find a kid in sight. Our teen will have already showered and is in her room. The toddler sleeping in his bed and the youngest in her crib.
Now that the one-year-old can walk and she pretty much has all her teeth. Our sleep routine has adjusted slightly in the fact that the teen must shower before the younger kids. I give the youngest a bath and then big brother takes a bath.
The routine stays the same except now from the previous baby routine we have the following:
- 7 pm Bath time
When it comes to getting our kids off to showers and beds it is a partnership between my husband and I. This is a BIG DEAL! Now, don’t get me wrong if you are a single mother, or have a husband who travels for work, works at night or overseas etc. this can still work.
When Dad is around he can join in without a hitch. My Husband travels 25% of the time so I sometimes am alone with the kids for days at a time.
My husband happens to be a father who likes and enjoys the process of all things with the kids. He loves to be apart of everything. For us, this is huge. Since my husband does travel for work sometimes I do have to get the kids down alone. Facetime works wonders in being able to see Daddy before bed if he can. Kids get to see that even if mommy is the primary caregiver, Daddy is moms teammate and they work together. My kids are always happier when we are both around for whatever activity it is.
Life lessons in a bedtime routine
Now that you can see how to create and establish a bedtime routine you will watch how your children will flourish from it. But it starts from the beginning.
There are life lessons that your child is developing and learning with your bedtime routine. It’s creating a foundation for them that will help them later on in life. They will carry with them some of these values as an adult or maybe even into their life as a parent.
During the day when everyone is awake and life is full of hustle and bustle, undivided attention is not common as you are trying to survive the day. But during each child’s bedtime, you can reinforce your bond with your child. Sharing moments and time with each one alone as you go through their bedtime routine.
Teaching your Child
We enjoy reading stories to our kids and sometimes the Bible is mixed in to and you can choose stories that teach values. This allows you to create not only an enjoyable calm reading time but, a learning experience through the books you read.
The bonus is that reading aloud to your child helps them develop their reading and language skills. We are a part of a program called 1000 books before kindergarten and we read on average two books a night. You can learn more about this on my blog.
Reinforcing their faith through songs
After we have read books we will say our prayers with each child we sing two songs. The songs we chose are nursery, hymns, and bible songs.
Some of our favorite songs are:
- Trust and obey
- Jesus loves the little children
- Jesus loves me this I know
- There were twelve disciples
Independence in Your Child
Each night you go through your routine with your child is another night of teaching them how to take care of themselves. As you watch the months and years go by you will start to see them being able to develop healthy habits. Brushing their teeth will be second nature to them and they will have better sleep habits. They begin to wash and dress themselves. It all works hand and hand.
Time Management for Kids
Kids who have a healthy sleep routine will correlate that nighttime is for sleeping and will independently recognize that this is the time of day for sleep and help create the skill of time management. My four-year-old will say “ we better get to bed the sun is gone and the moon is here”. He recognizes that the time has come and transitions himself.
Final Benefits of a sleep routine for parents
Never having bedtime battles is awesome but what is even better is the peace and time you get out of it as a parent.
One of the reason’s my husband and I are very regimented about sleep times is because of the time we get alone. At the end of the day by 7:45 pm we have time for us. This is time to catch up, time without the kids, time to watch a show. We can cuddle and enjoy each other without the kids interrupting us. We even can each do something we enjoy separately like reading etc.
When it comes to date nights having the bedtime routine makes is super easy for grandma and grandpa to put the kids down. It’s a win-win for everyone. We can enjoy our night out without worries.
As you can see a bedtime routine is not only to establish great sleep it provides so much more to your kids. Teaching them values, life lessons, self-care, independence and cultivates stability and a more harmonious, tranquil home.
Kids will change as they grow, kids will need additional things. Some will want a night light, special blanket or teddy bear. They will get crafty when getting out of bed. The most vital thing you can do is stick to your guns. They will get the picture. But also use your gut. If your child is having true problems with sleeping seek help. The sooner the better. Ask questions, do research.
What benefits have you found in the routines you have in your home? I would love to hear from you. Join my momma tribe!! Finding a community of mother’s is crucial as mom life is hard.
Hi, I am Lisa a busy mother of 3. My blog yourmomvillage.com helps moms rediscover that they are more than just moms. Helping them achieve balance to reach their personal goals. Your mom village aims to provide you with tips on parenting, time management, home management, self-care and working from home. I love to travel the world, my Jeep, glitter, dancing and being creative. If you find cleaning weekly a drag check out my 5-day cleaning schedule here. It's never too late to work on your goals every day is a new beginning.
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