Battling Bedtime


bedtime battles“Mom, come lay with me.”

“Mom, I don’t want to be by myself.”  

“Mom, I need a snack.”

“Mom, I need something to drink!” 

It never ends. Does this sound familiar? Welcome to the “Bedtime Battle.”

I have found that trying to figure out an effective bedtime schedule can be frustrating and hard to stick to. This year my little one started Kindergarten. His first taste of the real world came when his teacher informed him that there is no nap time in Kindergarten. He has even expressed how “tired” he is after lunch. In Pre-K, the period after lunch would have been his sleep time.

However, I wonder how he still finds the strength to fight sleep in an ever-losing battle each night.

Maintaining a bedtime routine, like any other routine, allows the child to know what to expect. I am realistic and know that some days may not go as planned, but I make a conscious choice to follow a routine each night. For me, the 8 p.m. bedtime allows ample sleep and room for “me time” and prep for the next day. I have noticed that when my son gets a good night’s sleep, there is less fuss in the morning.

My little one and I have very long days. He is enrolled in an after-school program until I am off from work. We usually arrive home by 5:30 p.m. I immediately start dinner or warm up leftovers. I prepare small quick meals during the week for the sake of time. It is “wind-down” time by 7:00 p.m. Let the battle begin!

I can not say why it becomes so difficult to get a child to sleep especially when they are already exhausted, but it does. 

Let me take you through our routine and what I have found to be helpful.

Soft Music: My son and I love music, so I put something soothing on the Bluetooth. He may choose to play a few upbeat songs that he likes, but the focus is on getting his things ready for bed. During this time, I turn off unnecessary lights. The mood in the house changes to something more relaxing because we are winding down the day.

No Electronic Devices: A small battle may ensue when I have to take away the tablet. There is a battle for the tablet, but the mobile devices/games have to be put away so that the focus is on rest. Electronic devices only keep children stimulated.

8:00 p.m. Lights Out: When the clock hits 8 p.m., my son has to be in bed. I stick to this, even if he is not asleep. We read a book, talk, and depending on the night, if there is something that we enjoy watching together, I will allow that. Even though it is bedtime, it can also be used as a time to bond since he and I are up and running early each day.  

There is really no cookie-cutter approach to bedtime. For most parents, it is finding out what works for you and the child. It does not have to be a battle each night. Remember this is the one time of day you both get to relax.

Let me know what techniques or routine is working for you!


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