Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bedtime Routines

I had someone ask me a question a couple months ago about how we handle our bedtime routine with 2 boys sharing a bedroom in each of our boy rooms.  I meant to answer this question ages ago.  And, (as it fairly typical for me anymore) it slipped my mind until recently.

{Side note:  I had to pick up a prescription today for Joseph who has an ear infection.  While we were there, a dear older man was dropping off his handful of prescriptions.  Almost as an afterthought as he was walking to the waiting he area he said, 'Oh that one is for the dementia.'  I'm not entirely sure if he was serious or if he was just a kidder.  But, it made me think 'Will I need that kind of medication someday?  I sure am forgetful'.}

So, Merridith, if you're still out there, this post is for you.  I'm sorry it took so long.

First of all, now that our youngest is past the stage where he's nursing or waking up at night, we have him and our next youngest sharing a room.  Our oldest two share another room.    Up until then, the baby would always have a room to himself.  So, when our youngest was born, this meant we actually had the other 3 boys sharing a room for awhile.

We aim for bedtime to be between 8 and 8:30.  The boys should all be in their pajamas with teeth brushed by 8 and lights are out no later than 8:30 (usually).  I try to start the bedtime routine around 7:30 - 7:45 depending on if it's a bath night or not.

We don't do baths every night (unless they are REALLY dirty).  It's more like every other night (and sometimes every 3 nights...shhhh).  The most recent routine that has been working well for us is the oldest 2 taking turns in the shower downstairs while I wash the little 2 in the tub upstairs.  I've also sometimes waited until the next morning to wash the little 2 after their brothers have left for school.

My children don't typically like to play upstairs.  But, when bedtime rolls around they often find something to play with.  So, there's a lot of dilly dallying & stalling.  The big 2 are supposed to be responsible to get their own pajamas on & teeth brushed while I help the little 2 (although Charlie, who is almost 4, is able to dress himself....if he chooses to.   He still likes mommy to help.)

There's a lot of need for mommy direction at bedtime it seems - 
'Get your pajamas.'
'Put them ON your body.'
'Dirty clothes in the hamper please.'
'Whose pants are lying on the floor?'
'Do NOT flick your brother with your towel!'
'Why is the hand towel soaking wet?'
'Did you brush your teeth yet?'
'Let me smell your breath.'
'Go brush your teeth!'
'Your brother does not want you to sit on him.'
'No, he really doesn't.  I hear him telling you to stop.'
'Why aren't your pajamas on yet?'
'Give me the toothpaste.  We are not using it to draw on the counter.'

 Get the idea?  Yet, when Daddy puts the boys to bed, it's more like....
'Put on your pajamas and brush your teeth.'
'Good night boys.'

At least that's how it seems to me.  
I'm reminded of a quote from the movie Date Night (a pretty funny movie - it's too bad they couldn't leave out the crude stuff & foul language).  The Tina Fey character is talking about some of her frustrations as a mom & she says something like....And bedtime!  We do it every night.  Why does is always come as such a surprise to everyone?!

Once everyone has been sufficiently cleaned & dressed for bed we'll read a story or 2 of their choosing (depending on how late it is) in one of the bedrooms.  We try to take turns.  But, I forget whose turn it is half the time.  Sometimes to make it easier I just say it's Mommy's choice.  We'll wrap up stories with a reading from a children's devotional.  (And, in case you are picturing a serene picture of angelic, freshly washed little boys gazing in wonder as I read, you should know there is usually one or more who is running hither and yon.  And, at least 2 are fighting about how they can't see because someone's knee is in the way.)

Then I send the big 2 to their room while I tuck in the little 2.  Everyone makes sure they take one more drink from their water cups.  They like me to lay with them for a few minutes.  So, I'll lay on the floor for bit.  I pray with them.  And, we'll talk for a little bit.  Then, I go to the next room and repeat the tuck in procedure.

When, I head to the stairs, there is more often than not a flurry of other questions, comments, etc. coming from each room.  One of those questions is almost always, 'How long until you come up to bed?'  I answer as quickly as I can, say 'Good Night boys!'  and run down the stairs before they can think of any more questions.

And, there you have our bedtime routine.

What does your bedtime routine look like?


  1. I absolutely loved this! I was laughing a lot over here as I was reading the things you say to re-direct the boys ... mostly b/c it sounds just like us! I've missed keeping up with your blog, although I did think of you a few times while I was at Relevant! It would've been nice to catch up there ... well, maybe next year!

  2. Oh Karen, this is great -- and so true to our house too! We also have two boys to each bedroom, and when they were littler and getting ready for bed took longer (and required parental supervision), Wade and I would each take one room, trading rooms each night. Now that they all can get ready on their own and tucking isn't quite as big a production, one of us will usually handle both rooms. A "tuck" includes talking about what their favorite part of the day was, sometimes reading a book, either tickles or bounces or back rubs, depending on the boy, and a prayer... and then Mom hurrying out of the room before they can ask for anything else!


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