Sunday, September 10, 2017

10 Easy Tips To Start a Bedtime Routine with Your Child
We all know how busy our days are with active and energetic toddlers. They run around, laugh, jump, cry, and laugh again all day long. So when it’s time to go to bed, we look forward to quiet and relaxing time with our husbands or even by ourselves. Here are a few tips that I have found to creating a successful bedtime routine with my child. For our family it takes about one hour. We usually start at 8pm and end at 9pm.

1.  Give your child 10 minute signal to finish their playtime.
Give your child some time to finish their game and project and let them know they have 10-15 minutes left. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t know exactly what that means. The idea is for them to know playtime will end soon. Sometimes if my son really wants to do two more activities instead of one, I let him. Just make sure the games are short and quiet. If they want to play drums before bed, that’s a big “No”. We try to avoid loud and exciting activities one hour before sleep.

2.  Don’t forget clean up time.
When we are done with the last game, we always put away our toys. You can sing a quiet song “Clean up time, clean up time” and start picking up toys. Do it with your child, so they don’t feel alone in this task. If they refuse, remind them about your “house rules” they need to respect and follow. You will be surprised how much your child at this age can help. Just a reminder, do not constantly praise your child! It’s okay to thank them for putting away their toys but continually saying “Good job!” can actually harm your kid. Stay tuned for our next post, we will talk about unnecessarily praising your child.

" Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed".
3.  We always have a light evening snack.
When our house is clean and tidy, we have a light snack. The reason I have this on my list, is that I had a few nights in the past, when my child would ask for food at 9:30 pm! Since then, we make a  snack that satisfies his hunger before we go upstairs. When you feel like your child can safely carry his plate, ask him to put it away and wipe his table. The Montessori approach is to help the child become independent and prepare him for real life. In real life, your mom doesn’t do everything for you, right?

4.  Every night we take a shower or bath.
Finally, we go upstairs to my child’s bathroom. Usually he takes a quick shower with his daddy, and once a month I make a special bubble bath for my son and daughter. They love and treasure those special evenings. Of course, if I have a bubble bath in mind, we start our evening routine 30 minutes earlier.
5.  Of course, we need to remember about teeth cleaning.
After a shower, we brush teeth and floss them. I started to teach my son to take care of his teeth very early, when his first tooth came in - at six months. At this young age, children are eager to imitate us, adults. If they see us cleaning our teeth, flossing them, they want to do the same thing.
6.  Maybe it’s just in our family, but at night  we brush our hair.
My son likes to brush his hair (sometimes he asks to brush mine, because “I have more hair”), so I let him spend a few extra minutes in front of his bathroom mirror to study his face and show with it different emotions. His favorite one is to show how babies cry.
7.  Let’s pick out our favorite pajamas.
When our bathroom routine is over, we transition into his bedroom. I do not have a bright light in his room, just a dim night lamp. With some help, my son puts on his pajamas. He usually spend a couple minutes to pick the “right” one for that night.
8.  As we are getting closer to the end of the evening routine, we transition to story time.
My husband always reads one story to Rodion before he goes to bed. We used to have many books in his basket, but  my son would want to read all of them before he fell asleep.  We slowly changed the number of books from about 7 to 2. Today, Rodion reads only one Bible story and he likes that rule. It is interesting to notice that our children actually like the boundaries and rules. They will never agree with this statement, but by observing Rodion and Vasilisa, I can tell that freedom within the limits helps them to know what they can do and how far they can go. We just need to remember those rules and be consistent. Make sure the books you put near your child’s bed are peaceful and calm.

9.  From storytime we move on to a quiet lullaby song.
This little routine is similar to the book story. We used to sing lullabies until my husband would lose his voice, and Rodion would sing with him for half an hour. What we learned is that one song is the best amount.
10.  We end each day with a goodnight kiss.
Every parent dreams for their children to sleep peacefully through the night, so we want them to end their day with something sweet and loving. Tell your precious child how much you love him and give a big kiss!

Do you have your own tips to help with bedtime routines? If so, we would like to hear about them! Share them in the comments below. 

You can read more about Montessori friendly environment here: Montessori Friendly Home.

Take a look at these items for our bedtime routine from Amazon. We just love their price and quality!

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