Does bedtime stress you out? The evening hours can be challenging, but they don’t have to be. It can be a pleasant time of day, with a few simple changes.
As a mom, I admit there are days that my stress increases as we approach evening, because there is so much to do! Between dinner, completing homework, playing outside, baths, and bedtime… a lot gets packed into 2 hours. When I’m stressed, I see my kids get stressed, and that is not how I want to prepare them for a full night of sleep. Taking a step back, I want our evenings to be a time to reconnect with each other.
By using these 5 tips with your family, bedtime can be a breeze.
Tip #1: Routine
Kids (and adults) thrive on routine because it helps them know what to expect. We have routines for everything….going to school, bedtime, and even after school. Develop a routine that works well for your family, to make sure everything gets completed. Your routine will be the same, but activities can differ each day. Your kids will become accustomed to the routine, and with your encouragement, you can empower your kids to be responsible for managing the routine on their own. One way to provide some flexibility within the routine is to provide some unstructured playtime.
Tip #2: Visual Checklist
Checklists are a great way to empower your kids to complete tasks independently. Visual checklists allow pre-readers to complete tasks and they feel like big kids too. Include pictures of homework, extracurricular activities, even bedtime, and your kids can complete the task without you having to remind them constantly.
Tip #3: Meal Preparation
Meal preparation is often a struggle, but planning and cooking in advance makes the evenings so much smoother. Each weekend, plan your meals for the week and do the grocery shopping. Make crock pot or freezer meals, or make dinner earlier, and all you have to do is reheat when you are ready. This gives you more time with your kids in the afternoon.
Tip #4: Enlist your Helpers
Letting kids “just be kids” after a busy day is great, but guess what?…Kids love to help!
Find something your child enjoys; maybe cooking, setting the table, or playing with a younger sibling, and let them help. There are many ways to make it enjoyable, and it is fun to spend time with your kids while doing things that have to be done. It also teaches them responsibility.
Try changing things up with a theme day. They are a huge hit! You could have a cowboy/girl day, backwards day, etc. and do everything related to the theme. Try talking like a cowboy while cooking, riding your horse to set the table, and even dress the part.
Tip #5: Relax
Ever hear yourself saying….”just relax”. Well, there’s some truth to that. If you find yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath and relax. Sing your favorite song, get on the floor and play with your kids, and enjoy the moment. When you relax, you are less worried about the “must-do” things, and when you come back to them, you will be better equipped to handle the task.
By implementing these tips, your evenings will be more family-centered and bedtime will become less stressful. As your children are more relaxed at bedtime, and are getting the right amount of sleep, evening stress will be a thing of the past.