Marathon of bedtime

Bedtime is chaotic in this household

It’s a constant battle to get the children to sleep.

You just about think your winning. They’re in their beds all tucked up and looking like little angels and just as you take a foot over the threshold of the bedroom door, thinking of how you are going to spend the last couple of quiet hours of your evening, when you hear…

“I need a wee”

“I’m thirsty”

“I’m not tired”

“Just one more story”

“I’ve got a belly ache”

Anything to stay awake for those extra few minutes of the evening

The longer they stay awake the more tired and irritable I become. I was so close to the finish line of relaxation.

For a moment there I could see it, but yet I was so far away.

Our bedtime routine can sometimes be a fast one, with  no arguments but most of the time it can take up to over an hour to get the little rascals into bed. So I set myself a goal of reducing it to half an hour by setting up a routine.

We have always had a bedtime routine but it seemed to have lapsed the older they got. Before we moved home, the boys all shared a room. They now have a room to them selves which makes it easier to stagger their bedtime. It is always hard to keep to a routine when the children get older as they attend after school clubs that normally finish near to their bedtime.

Our newest routine consists of

  • Wind down time, removing any electrical equipment from them about an hour before bedtime. I sometimes have to hide them in my bedroom away from their sneaking hands
  • An hour before bed they can have a small glass of water. Any more than that and they will be up in the night going to the toilet
  • Half hour before bedtime they are told to have a shower/wash and to brush their teeth, I give constant count down reminders about what they are doing next.
  • They get there clothes ready for the next day, placed neatly into a pile near to their bed
  • They can choose a book to read to themselves for 10 minutes
  • Once in bed I then sit down and read a book to them. This is a book that both boys have chosen. We are currently reading Harry Potter together. I normally read them a chapter a night. The two younger boys have a connecting room, so this is easy to do whilst both boys are in bed
  • I always end the day with a cuddle and a kiss and give them a praise about their day. Falling asleep on a positive note relaxes them and encourages a good nights sleep
  • Tuck them up in bed and turn off the lights

I try to keep the landing light off too, as this seems to keep them awake. Also talking a calm voice and not rushing them along helps them to the routine running smoothly.

I must admit this doesn’t always go to plan and I still get the odd shout from the boys bedroom about them not being tired enough for sleep. We’re not all perfect after all!

 

 

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Top Tips for A Smooth School Morning Routine

School mornings can be the most stressful part of the day. Children, especially the younger ones do not understand the concept of time and If anything like my youngest boy, they will deliberately go slow once told to be quick.

I am no expert in parenting nor am I saying I know more than any other parent, But I am hoping that my tips can help someone who is struggling with the morning routine running smoothly. Having three children and one of them being a stubborn morning person, I have been the Mum that screams the house down in the morning. I have been the parent that has sat on the bottom step of the stairs, head in hands and cried. I have been stressed to the max when the youngest just wouldn’t budge and just moved like a sloth to the front door without wearing his coat or shoes. We had months of where we left late every morning for school and I felt like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, looking at my watch every 2 seconds, screaming out that we’re late, we’re late! School morning routines can be stressful but they don’t have to be if you just try to organise your time and prepare.

It’s all about preparing the night before. If you can get as much as possible all set up the night before then there won’t be as much as a rush in the morning.

  • If your child has pack lunch for school, most of it can be prepared the night before. I put in packets, juices, fruits and bars into their boxes and leave the yoghurt and any fresh food for the morning. It’s best to out the lunch box together before the children wake up, then you won’t be listening to the moans of them not wanting what you put in. I like to make the sandwiches fresh in the morning but to save time you can make them the night before and store them in the fridge.
  • Wake up at least 45 minute before anyone else in the household. This way you get to relax before the tornado hits. Grab a cuppa and a biscuit and chill for 5 minutes. I also like to get dressed before they wake up. Fewer people fighting over the bathroom.
  • Place all bags and coats near to the front door. Easy to grab before you leave the house and also means that nothing gets left behind. Line up their school shoes next to the front door too.
  • Keep all winter clothes, like scarves and gloves inside he sleeve of the children’s coats. That way there will be no searching for them in the morning.
  • Make sure the children’s book bags are looked through as soon as they come home from school. All homework taken out and placed on the table to do straight away. All letters read and signed to be placed back into the book bags ready to be handed in the next day
  • Fold up your child’s school uniform, along with underwear and socks ready for the next day, in a pile. I leave ours in the living room, so after they have had their breakfast and had a quick wash they can get dressed in front of me downstairs, then I know there will be no distractions for them in their bedroom.
  • A bath/shower is better, for time wise, to have the night before. Just freshen up in the morning with a strip wash from the sink.
  • I always put the toothpaste on their toothbrushes as soon as I can. Once I am dressed and ready I prepare their toothbrushes and leave them on the side of the sink. That way I know there won’t be snail trails of bright blue gunk all over the white bathroom suite and I always know if they have brushed their teeth. Children have a tendency to lie about brushing their teeth. I touch the brush head to see if it is wet too. It saves time too as It takes me seconds but leave it to the children and they can be in there for hours
  • NO TV. do not have the television on whilst the children are around. They will sit and stare at adverts about incontinence and women’s period rather than get dressed and ready for school. It’s like auto pilot, there not taking anything in of what there watching they just watch for the sake of it.
  • Hide all tablets, laptops, console remotes and phones the night before, then there will be no distractions in the morning when a child wants to play on a game or watch something on YouTube.
  • Make a note of anything special happening in school on your phone diary or family organiser. I have a calendar up in the kitchen where everyone can see it. On I mark down school trips, class assembly’s, teacher meetings, parents evenings, PE and swimming days and any other special events. I always check the night before and I set the alarm on my phone for a second reminder.
  • As soon as the children have woken up and are downstairs they choose their breakfast and sit at the table to eat it. They then have a wash and get dressed. We sometime have a little game on who can get dressed first (makes them go faster), they love a little competition.
  • Make up a ‘I Can DO’ chart I had one that had ‘made my bed’ ‘brushed my teeth’ ‘got dressed’ and ‘ate breakfast’ The child can put a star next to the chore that they have finished. You can reward them with a sticker, children love stickers!

The last tip is to always keep your front door keys and phone in your handbag, coat pocket or on the window sill near to the front door. You don’t want to get the children all organised for you to go hunting through the house, just as you are about to exit through the front door. This I have done many times before as I was too occupied in getting the children ready, I have even shut the door without my keys in my pocket. Check, Check, Check! That is my last advice.

Let me know if there is anything that you do for an easy, smooth running morning that I do differently. I am always up for new ideas to help

Thank you for reading

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So long Nightmare!

For a while now Joseph has been going to bed at his bedtime at 8:00 with no problems but within 15 minutes he is out of bed and complaining that he has had a nightmare, I don’t know if this is the case or that he just wants to stay up a bit later with Mummy but what I do know is that the latter isn’t going to happen.

There were many things I would do when I heard the ‘MUM, I’ve had a nightmare!’

I tried going into his room with him, looking around his room and telling him that he was safe and no monster or bad person was around

I cuddled and reassured him that Mummy was only next door and I would protect him

I gave him his Bradley Bear and tucked him into bed nice and tightly with his duvet, nothing bad would happen with Bradley around

Sometimes I would lay in bed with him until he fell asleep

Sometimes I would leave the hallway light on for a while

I would tell him to think of nice, good and fun things to take his mind off of what he had just dreamt

I would talk to him about our holidays or days out, get him to recall the times when he laughed and had fun

All of these worked for that moment but then the next night it would be ‘MUM I’ve had a nightmare’

It was Jak that suggested that we make him a dream maker, a squirt of the dream maker just before bed would scare away the nightmares and only produce good dreams

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Making a dream maker is easy, you will need:

-1 empty bottle that has a squirt pump on it

-Water

-Lavender oil

-1 tired little boy that believes in magic

Lavender is known to have a calming effect which may aid in relaxation.

Joseph squirted the dream maker under his bed, on his duvet, around the bedroom and on his teddies

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Joseph fell asleep within minutes with a smile on his face 🙂

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