I have to admit, I never thought I would be writing a post about a positive bedtime at my house. My kids have never been horrible about going to bed, but they have never been great, either. Usually our struggles centered around getting up and asking for water, or wanting another kiss, or a million other excuses for getting out of bed. We have lived in the land of good nights and bad nights for pretty much the entire time we have had children.
Then I read a post on the blog “A Mom with a Lesson Plan” that got me thinking. The post suggested letting kids pick their bedtime. It’s not as crazy as it sounds at first. The post outlined how this works.
The kids are given a time they need to be ready for bed and they go into their rooms. They can quietly play, read, do puzzles, etc. Then when they come out of their room, that is the signal that they are ready for bed. They then get tucked in, kissed goodnight, and all that good stuff.
Having two boys in the same room, I wasn’t sure if this would completely work. So I tried a modified version. I allowed the boys to pick books to take into bed with them and look at. I turned on the small lamp in their room and said I would be back to turn it off in 10 minutes.
Well, I got busy picking up, returning a phone call, and so on and it was probably at least 30 minutes when I realized I needed to go turn their light off. I went upstairs to two fast asleep little boys. I was amazed.
So far, this has been working pretty well. The rule is, if the kids get out of bed, then their book gets put away. I sometimes hear them getting up and picking other books, but I’m ok with that and pretend I don’t hear it. I have even left the light on until I go to bed and they are both fast asleep when I go in to turn it off.
I don’t know that I’m daring enough to give them free reign on what activities they can pick, other than reading books in bed, but maybe when they get a little older and are on similar sleep schedules. For now I like the limited options so one can sleep even if the other is awake. And I also love that I am starting a habit with my kids of reading in bed before they go to sleep – one of my own favorite activities.
How do you get your kids to go to bed? What works, or doesn’t work, for you?