After a long day of work, cooking dinner, cleaning up dinner, homework, baths and stories, you are ready for bed, never mind the kids. Unfortunately, your to-do list doesn’t end there. As your children’s bedtime draws closer you beginning counting down the minutes until you can complete your to-do list and sit for five minutes before you have to go to bed. After baths, pjs, teeth and stories, you tuck your kids into bed and return to your tasks only to hear “I can’t sleep”.
Bedtimes seems to be the time when kids are most creative! I’ve heard everything from “I can’t sleep (the moment their head hits the pillow”, “I’ve had a nightmare” when they have only been in bed for 5 minutes and “I’m scared. Kids will say anything when it comes to trying to get out of going to bed. In a recent global survey, Netflix found that 61% of parents face bedtime stalling tactics by their kids. 79% of these cases result in an extra 20 minutes per night of negotiation to get them to go to sleep..
Here are some more astonishing statics from Canadian Parents:
- The average time it takes Canadian parents to put their kids to bed is 18.1 minutes (vs. 17.5 minutes globally)
- 52% of Canadian parents disagree to children using stall tactics at bedtime
- 61% of Canadian parents don’t find their kids tactics too cute or clever to give in and let them stay up later
- 85% of Canadian parents agree that the last snuggle is the best (vs. 87% globally)
- 40% of Canadian parents have faced the “just 5 more minutes” negotiator
- The stall tactics of Canadian kids results in 13.2 additional minutes added to their bedtime routine (vs. 15.7 minutes globally)
I’m pretty lucky when it comes to bedtime with my children. Having a Type A personality, I thrive on routine, structure and repetition. It is these tactics that I believe have helped me establish a bedtime routine that helps to minimize problems at bedtime. They don’t work 100% of the time (sometimes too much sugar/excitement or over tiredness can come in to play) but for the most part, putting my children to bed is pleasurable, without the battle.
5 steps to take the battle out of bedtime:
Step 1: Create a good routine! I began routine with all my children after the “Babymoon” phase. Once I adapted to being a mother, DH went back to work and I was on my own. I began establishing a routine. After dinner, we would play for awhile, have bath, change into Pjs, brush teeth, read stories, sing songs and go to sleep.
Step 2: Anticipate shenanigans! Whether its monsters, an unquenchable thirst or boredom, I attempt to answer all of these problems before bed. For example, when we brush teeth, I offer a glass of water and tell them this is their last chance until morning. After kissing them goodnight, I give them an idea to dream about. Planning ahead helps to minimize the number of times they get out of bed.
Step 3: A good Lullaby. One of the biggest aids in my bedtime routine has been music. From the first time they slept in their own room alone till this present day, music is played to help my children sleep. I think it is a reassuring sound and it helps to hide other sounds that go bump in the night.
Step 4: Be consistent! A good routine only works if you use it! Whether its Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa or Santa putting your child to bed, make sure that they know routine and how to implement it. When children undergo the same routine every night (regardless of put-to-bed-er) they will know what to expect, they will feel comfortable and it will slowly wind them down to a peaceful state.
Step 5: Be in control, but let them think they won the war! Sometimes the biggest trick to geting a child to do what you want, is let them think they are in control. Netflix has just launched Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites which is a perfect bargaining tool for bedtime. When your kids plead “just one more show!”, parents can offer up one of these ENTIRE SHOW (300 seconds!) to motivate their little ones to get ready for bedtime. Kids will think they’re getting away with murder, but parents will get the last laugh when the show ends after just five minutes. With lessons such as teamwork and friendship demonstrated, what’s not to love!
What is your trick for getting your kids to bed on time?