We Made it to Bedtime!

We made it to bedtimeAt our house, 5pm is and has always been referred to as “the witching hour.” It is the time of day where everyone is exhausted and nothing seems to be going right. The kids are crying or whining, everyone is hungry, and I am contemplating popping the cork on a bottle of wine. All in all, the evenings can be just a hot mess in our house. Our saving grace, however, has always been that if we can just get through the witching hour, we can get to bedtime. Where we get a C+ in most parenting endeavors, we ace the bedtime routine. In six years, we’ve rarely deviated because if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

We began our routine when my oldest was just shy of two months. We had read somewhere that sometimes enlisting a bedtime routine would help with regular sleep patterns in babies. We tried it, it seemed to work and since then we’ve only made minor tweaks as the kids’ developmental stages have changed.

Dinner

Most days, we try really hard to have a sit down dinner together with no interruptions. Having 3- and 6- year-old boys, someone is always out of their seat, or goofing off, or putting on an entertainment show that rivals Jimmy Fallon. Regardless, we still attempt to all sit together and all consume some food together at relatively the same time.

To encourage each person to talk, we each share one part of our day that we loved and one part we would change. Dinner time is our opportunity to reconnect and talk with one another about what is going on in each of our lives, as well as be highly entertained. And having dinner conversation boosts vocabulary more than reading! When the kids were really tiny, we still pulled the highchairs up to the table and ate together. As a family, it is probably the single most important part of our day.

Bath

I think for some, it is pretty unusual to bathe your child every day, especially when they are young. In our house, if you are old enough for milk to stick in your neck crevice, you get a bath every day.  The warm water is soothing and who doesn’t like to go to bed clean? After the bath, we have always done lotion and PJs. When they were babies, we followed up the lotion with a little baby massage. After that, everyone gets PJs, they brush their teeth, and it’s onto reading.

Reading Time

Reading is a highly regarded time of day in our house that usually involves the kids running like banshees to the bookshelf in order to get the first pick. They each get to pick two books, then we all pile onto the couch up and I set the timer for 20 minutes to make sure we meet my eldest’s kindergarten reading requirement (he takes the time accuracy of his reading requirement very seriously). Then they request Dad to read; he has a full array of character voices and apparently mine all sound like a British grandma.

Bedtime

After reading, the kids get kisses and hugs and it’s off to dreamland. My husband and I usually have grand plans to watch a movie or have an adult conversation that isn’t about around paying bills, but we almost always fall right to sleep, too. I guess the bedtime routine is so good it even works on the parents.

Tessa Wesnitzer is a health and wellness coach who lives in a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves her husband, two boys, green tea, long runs, and snowy winters.

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