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 email@example.com if you’d like that.
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