Mommy Mondays: Bed Time Routine

Bed time can be one 
of my favorite times of day,
or most dreaded.
It all depends on the day of course.
Most of the time I enjoy it.

If I am on my game and
paying attention to the clues 
the girls give me, I can help us
have a successful bed time routine. 
This means having dinner prepared in time
in order for the rest of the evening to go smoothly. 
This can really make or break whether or not
there are melt downs. 

For the most part, 
I never thought I'd get too caught up
in any kind of routine or schedule with my kids.
But if I've learned anything since being a parent,
it's everything I thought it wouldn't be.
Most kids largely depend and thrive on consistency and routine.

My girls thrive on consistency and not being rushed. 
My oldest needs time to transition.
She needs down time and she likes to know what is going to happen. 
She can adapt fairly well if she knows what the plan is going to be. 

The girls will eat their dinner together
 and we chat about the day.
What activities we did, 
what our favorite parts of the day were,
what we could change or do differently,
 and other fun things or highlights. 
Then we start talking about bed time. 
This is as simple as saying, 
"When we are finished dinner, 
we are going to clear our plates and head to my bed room to start the bath." 
There are a couple more reminders about what is to come. 

Then we hop into the tub. 
Often all three of us together. 
Claire's favorite part is to have 
everyone in the bathtub.
We will wash up and then play. 

After the bath there is 
typically a few tears from both girls. 
They both love bath time and are always sad, 
and a bit cold, when its over. 
I have them on my bed with towels
 and we dry off and lotion up. 
I usually sing a very silly song about this an attempt to cheer them up. 
It usually works. 

Next we move to their room downstairs
Where we begin getting ready for bed. 
This seems like it is early,
but each stage takes a while and is drawn out. 
Claire will dress herself while I dress Jane.
Then Jane plays while I
brush and braid Claire's unruly curls. 
Claire will brush her teeth, and then Spencer or I do it again. 

At this point Spencer is typically home 
from work and will read Claire her 3 stories. 
Jane and I say good night to Claire and leave the room. 
Claire gets 3 books before bed.
She is beginning to
Enjoy reading them to us now from memory. 
Sometimes we will
Have a little chat, then we pray.
We lay with her for about 5 minutes, 
often giving her "back scratchies." 

Jane and I will read a couple of books geared more toward her age. 
Her favourites right now are 
"Your Baby's first word will be Dad", by Jimmy Fallon 
and the Duck and Goose books.
We read these books in a dimly lit room,
with her white noise machine on.

Once we are done,
she will drink her warm bottle,
and then nurse.
While she is eating I sing her a song,
and end with her favourite song.
Its simply the "I love you" Barney song,
and I use her name. 

Once she is drowsy and sleepy, 
I lay her in her bed.
Along the way, as she is showing signs that she is tired
(yawning and pulling on her ear),
I say to her,
"It is almost time for bed Jane. Night night Jane."
We also point to her bed and say,
"This is your bed. Night night Jane."
Sometimes she will cry for a minute or two,
but then is able to fall asleep on her own. 

As a kid,
I have fond memories of bed time.
My mom always made it so special.
She had a knack for making
the most ordinary and mundane things
and making them sweet and memorable.
Some of my memories are being wrapped in a towel
and sitting on the heat vent in the floor to get warm. 
I can still remember the feeling of the warm air blowing up into my towel.
I also remember snacks like sliced bananas and milk.

What do you do for your kids' bed time routine?

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