Today on the blog, parenting vlogger SJ Strum is sharing her most practical and flexible tips for getting a smooth bedtime routine with 3 children of different ages. Check out the video and read through the tips below to help give your evening drill some consistency, so you have plenty of time left over to relax and wind down yourself at the end of the day.
Tips for making your bedtime routine run as smoothly and fun for all as possible
1. Switch into "bedtime gear" straight after dinner - make sure everyone knows that this is winding down time.
2. When you have a new baby, write down the time you want your last/ oldest child to be in bed and work back from that.
3. Write down all the jobs that need to happen before that last bedtime and give each task a 20-30 minute limit. You will be surprised at how early the bedtime routine needs to start after this!
4. Start to tidy around before you tend to the kids - you will feel more relaxed and less like a ticking time bomb if you don't have a big mess of a kitchen to come down to once you've put them to bed.
5. Start a countdown with the children. Let them know they have an hour, then 30 minutes before bed so they know this is the only time to ask for snacks or a drink before the kitchen closes.
6. Older kids might prefer to have their bath straight after school, rather than after dinner. This will allow them to have a longer and more relaxing time in there without worrying about the limit on bed time.
7. Little ones will be happy to have just a quick bath shortly after dinner, getting straight into their cosy PJs and bed once they've had a little play.
8. Younger children and toddlers can be read their bedtime stories first. It's a good idea to give them a limit, like 2 books and then it's sleep time. This should be the shortest of your kids' bedtime routines.
9. If your middle child can already read or is learning, you may want to let them read the bedtime story to you, or take it in turns reading a page each. After the story, you could use this time together to wind down and talk about your days, giving your child a chance to offload anything they might want to fill you in on.
10. Older children can be settled in bed reading to themselves whilst you are getting the younger ones tucked in. Pop in and check if all technology has been put away and say your goodnights. If they are allowed to stay up later than the others, remind them what time you would like the lights to go out.
11. It's important that older children understand it's "adult time" now, so they don't feel left out. Let them know that parents have their own hobbies and to-do lists to finish, and need time to do this in the evening rather than going straight to bed.
12. Remember, every family is different and every night will be different too! Be flexible with your routines and try not to be too strict with your timings to avoid feeling stressed out at the end of the night if it just hasn't gone to plan that evening.
13. Join the community! Share your bedtime routine tips with other parents in our comments section below.