So recently night time has become my least favorite part of the day, dinner was a constant struggle to get Little Man to eat literally anything, bed time was an hour long power struggle, and I was constantly feeling drained and just done with parenting every single night. Then I took a look at what we were doing and why it wasn’t working, consulted my mom friends and darling husband and viola we found a solution!
We got back on a regular schedule, cut back screen time, and stayed calm. This may seem like common sense and I promise that in my younger non-pregnant days of motherhood I would’ve been able to figure this out on my own, but here we are.
Our nightly routine.
5:30ish start dinner, depending on what dinner is this may start a little earlier on somedays.
5:45 seated and eating at the table with atleast one parent (most nights we both sit with him).
Sitting at the table was something we newly started, and so far it’s been amazing! We can sit and eat like a real family without screens and Little Man actually eats his dinner! I didn’t know he would eat half of what he’s been eating until I put it in front of him at the table.
6:15ish Little Dude is usually done and asking to get down from the table, then we either roll into shower time or free play.
6:30pm All electronics away for the night. No more tablet, no more TV, now we start winding down.
6:30pm Shower time! Little Dude loves taking showers, so we pop some toddler time radio on the speaker and wash up!
6:45ish jammies and free play. If it isn’t a shower night we roll into jammies around 6:45ish, if it’s a shower night we just get dressed after our shower so it’s still around the same time frame. Now is when we get all our silliness out for the day and burn the last of the energy before bed.
7:15ish Goodnights and book time. Around 7:15 we say our goodnights to Dadda and head to bed to read some books. Some of Little Mans favorites lately are the big board books with pictures of everyday objects in them, he loves to go through and point out everything he can and I love that he happily reads to me.
7:30 lights out. This is the best part because usually Little Dude’s pretty tired and ready to settle in. With luck by 7:45 he’s fast asleep and I’m ready to start ending my day. We still have to sit with him until he falls asleep, but the length we have to sit is getting shorter and shorter.
Sure, no schedule is perfect and some nights are earlier than others depending how the day went, but so far going on a week of this has really turned nighttime around for us as a family. Not getting frustrated at bedtime is something that benefits everyone, and can only make life easier once the new baby joins the family.
The quick take away.
1. Getting on a set schedule.
A no brainer, kids live for consistancy. Once we figured out a time table that worked for us, it made planning the rest of our lives so much easier. We’re hoping that the schedule will also help immensely once the new baby comes because our big guy will know what to expect and have a sense of normalcy even when we don’t feel completely normal.
2. Sitting at the table for dinner.
I grew up on sitting at the table to eat, and the benefits of uninterrupted family meal time seem to really be working for little dude’s appetite. No distractions and he sits on a regular chair, there isn’t the highchair struggle of days past which is phenomenal.
3. Modeling expected behavior.
Kids are like sponges and love to mimic behavior. Obvioisly he didn’t want to settle in and eat when he was eating alone! By actually modeling the behavior we want him to do, he seems to be transitioning a lot better into nighttime.
4. Once it’s time to start slowing down, we only play in his room.
This one was crucial because it gives which ever parent isn’t doing bedtime, wiggle room to get stuff done around the house. This also helped set the precedent of limiting extra distractions, there isn’t anything super new and exciting to get into, and you can’t hear the background noise of the rest of the house once we shut the door. It’s easy to transition from building blocks on the floor to sitting in bed with a book when we’re in the same room.
5. Staying calm.
As previously mentioned bedtime was a nightmare for me because I would lose my cool so easily and not understand why. Well now I know that obviously it takes more than three seconds to fall asleep, so my giving bedtime kisses and then just doing some breathing exercises while I wait for my little guy to drift off to dreamland, the only energy hes picking up from me is a calm one. Stay calm, eventually everyone needs sleep right?