The key to a peaceful bedtime routine with your kiddos is routine — your kids knowing what to expect and when to expect it. If you have toddlers then you probably know that they don’t like to be blindsided by unexpected news like, “It’s time to leave the playground!” or “It’s time to take a nap!”
*Cue the tantrums and/or stalling tactics.*
And because bedtime comes at the end of the day when everyone is already tired and a little cranky, the unexpected news that your kids have to take a bath before bed yet again can trigger all kinds of big emotions!
Here are a few things I’ve implemented with my 2- and 3-year-old daughters that have helped create a more peaceful bath and bedtime routine in our house.
Give your kids ten-, five-, and one-minute notices that it’s almost time to take a bath.
Toddlers don’t know how to tell time — imagine moving through your day and having no idea or context of what time it is or what’s coming next! It would cause some anxiety. So let your kids know what to expect and when.
Establish a solid bath and bedtime routine.
We literally do the same thing every night and have been since our girls were babies (with a few additions along the way). We eat dinner, run the girls a bath and give them 10-15 minutes to play in the bathtub, give them a 3-minute notice that it’s time to get out of the bathtub (we even set the timer on my husband’s iPhone so my 3-year-old has confirmation that her three minutes is, in fact, over!), get them dressed, dance to Pharell’s “Happy” and then read three books of their choosing. When we put them in bed, we say the Lord’s Prayer and then it’s lights out. There’s very little resistance on their part since they know exactly what’s coming.
Stop screen time at least an hour before bed.
Our girls go down at 7:00 every night, which means by 6:00 the television is off and we’re heading upstairs to start the bath. It’s well known that screens cause the human brain to be stimulated and can delay toddlers and adults alike falling asleep, so to give your kids a chance to start to wind down mentally and physically, try turning the TV off at least an hour before bed.
The evenings can be so stressful for parents of young kids, so try implementing a few of these strategies to help create a more peaceful bath and bedtime routine in your house.