8/31/17

BEDTIME ROUTINES

Let's talk bedtime routines! Obviously bedtime will look different for every family depending on your lifestyle and how many people are in your house. Honestly, that's probably the question I get asked the most often, how do you manage bedtime with lots of little ones? I won't lie, there are definitely nights it feels like a big job. Spending one on one time with each of my kids is a huge priority for me, so naturally if each child has something on their mind and we chat a little as I tuck them in, this can make for a pretty long bedtime! But in general, getting six kids to bed is really not that much harder than one or two. I find sticking to a good schedule is key for us. Here's a rundown of our general bedtime routine.

PAJAMAS + BRUSH TEETH

Even though my kids don't all go to bed at the same time, I find having everyone get ready for bed at the same time is helpful. This involves taking their daily vitamins, getting in their pajamas, wash face, brush teeth. This typically takes less than 20 minutes. The kids' dentist recommends helping kids brush and floss until they're about 7 and can do it thouroghly themselves so I've always gone by that rule. 

BEDTIME STORY

Once they're ready for bed, all the kids tend to convene in the nursery or on the sofa for a bedtime story. They typically pick out a book or two or ask me to tell them a story from my life, which is fun but I'm beginning to run out of good stories. Sometimes the big kids will have a book they really want to read to the little ones which is like win win for all of us. 

BEDTIME

After story, it's bedtime for the little ones. My kids naturally love being in bed (they get that from me I'm sure ha ha) so I've had few issues with them not wanting to go to bed. This is also an important time for me to make sure I'm connecting with each kid, however brief it is. I'll take a couple minutes and tuck each one in, ask them what the best part of their day was, say a quick bedtime prayer (we use one from a prayers for catholic children book), sing a lullaby for those who want it, and exchange goodnight hugs and kisses. 

This often takes less than five minutes per kid but ensures that they feel loved and heard and gives them an opportunity to express anything they want to me. We've had some really important conversations that stemmed from this simple bedtime check in so I'm a firm believer in taking that time! It's important to me that my kids fall asleep at night knowing they are safe in the world and loved. Really, I believe every child should fall asleep that way. 

WHEN BEDTIME IS TRICKY

Of course, I know bedtime can sometimes be tricky. I'm lucky in that I have good sleepers. But the times I have found myself with a struggling sleeper, here are a few tricks I've used. 

Nightlights. I love projection night lights like this one which will project stars around the room for little ones to fall asleep to. I use the warm white stars and not the multi color so it's calming. A couple of the kids also have these gummy bear night lights they sleep with next to their beds. 

Essential Oils. I made a blend of roman chamomile, lavender, and grapefruit oils mixed with shea butter and will massage a little on their shoulders and feet to help them feel calm if needed. 

The head on your pillow rule. Once I tuck them in, I just ask that they keep their head on their pillow. They can talk quietly, or lay there and day dream and watch the stars, or look at books, but keeping their heads on their pillows generally means they'll eventually fall asleep!

OLDER KIDS

My older kids go to sleep 1 - 2 hours after my younger ones. They typically use this time to read, listen to audio books or music, chat with each other, or sometimes we will watch tv together. I honestly love that time with just my big kids.

SLEEPING AWAY

Spending nights away from your little ones is always a little hard for us mamas and I totally have moments that I miss their little arms around me when we are away from each other. That said, I think having that stable bedtime routine when we're all home together helps them feel comfortable when we're apart. They know when they're with me I will always tuck them in with an "I love you, you're amazing" and eventually that kind of becomes their inner dialogue.

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