Today on the blog, I’m sharing ways to set boundaries around bedtime routines by taking a look at what we have done over the years. I remember back in the “trench years” of parenting with the kids all being under five and under – bedtime was extremely exhausting for us. It was a marathon I’d often call it. I’d message a more seasoned mom of many friend of mine who I looked up to for her parenting wisdom about what to do with my gopher children popping in and out of their rooms. It was driving us bananas some nights. “Me time” was at 10pm or later many nights of the week. Her practical suggestions were so, so helpful and started helping us in the bedtime and beyond area.
My friend shared something like:
- We just put them to bed at X time and that’s that unless they need us for something important (i.e. a scrape or are sick).
- We turn up the TV louder. It’s our time and they need to know that it’s their time too – bedtime. (ha!)
At first, I was like. Nooo! We weren’t in that place yet of more independence, but we had to start somewhere, right? We had to work backwards setting expectations with our kids around bedtime. But, with consistency, and setting boundaries that worked for our family – it slowly came together over time.
What bedtime generally looks like now for us:
- The kids are In bed by about 7, later in the summer sometimes. Our kids are 9, 7, 4, 1 - for reference. And this doesn’t apply to the one year old yet.
- Quiet activities like reading, talking quietly, drawing in the evenings until lights out. Sometimes we do need to remind them of this, but in general, it’s been working well.
- Must knock on our door quietly if we are needed.
- Only leave rooms for the bathroom or an emergency (i.e. a cut etc).
- They are escorted back to their rooms otherwise. This took a lot of time and consistency to get to, but it came together over time.
- We share with them that bedtime is their quiet time and ours as adults too. We all need downtime!
- Repeat, enforcing, making clear boundaries is so key here for bedtime routines.
PS if you’d like a list of other ideas of boundaries you can set around bedtime for various ages, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like that.
Hi, I’m Kelly! I’m a mother of four children - three boys, one toddler girl - and our family lives on the beautiful east coast of Canada. I’m a past elementary teacher, turned stay at home, work at home mom eight years ago after I had my second child. I’ve found that the busier I’ve become and as my children age, that it’s become even more important to figure out what is most important to me and us as a family. Living a simpler lifestyle has helped us in so many ways in our home life - from better routines to faster tidying up times. It has been through my children that I have been inspired to learn how to effectively manage my time and to simplify in all areas of my home and life. I enjoy helping busy moms simplify home life by teaching flexible planning methods and skills. Enjoyed this blog and think it would be helpful to others? I'd love if you shared it. Thank you!