My husband and I learned the importance of a bedtime routine when our first child was born and had trouble going to sleep and STAYING asleep. Even after four children, we still have an established bedtime routine that includes brush, book, and bed because we treasure those last few moments of the day.
Evenings are especially poignant for me.
I have always loved snuggling with my children when they are fresh from a bath and in cuddly pajamas. Something about the sweet smell of shampoo and the soft fabric reminds me of hugging your favorite plush animal… except this stuffed plush gets the giggles during silly bedtime stories and loves to sing songs.
Each day seems to pass a little quicker and evenings are a reminder that any opportunities I had to make meaningful memories and show my love during the day are coming to an end.
So I savor those moments… or try to… by having a bedtime routine that brings a sense of peaceful nurture to the end of our day.
Establishing a Bedtime Routine
With our oldest child, her bedtime routine was elaborate. (Of course, we had no idea about her Autism Spectrum Disorder at the time.) She had requirements like tapping her Orajel™ toothbrush against the side of the sink three times to remove the excess water while saying, “Tap, tap, tap.”
I have gone through so many tubes of Orajel™ Thomas and Friends™ and My Little Pony™ that I could not even guesstimate.
Orajel™ always has the characters my children love to help entice them to brush their teeth. Right now, PAW Patrol™ is a favorite. Orajel™ PAW Patrol™ products are a great way to transition your little one(s) to regular toothpaste to help protect against cavities to keep young teeth and gums healthy.
Then, we would turn to the door where she counted the screws on the duck-themed light switch, “One… two… Two buttons!”
Tucked into bed, we would read a bedtime story, sing two songs (always “Baby Mine” and “Silent Night”), say a prayer, hug, kiss on both cheeks, high five, low five, tickle in the side… and a short dialog that was the same words every night: “Goodnight. I love you. Have sweet dreams. See you in the morning.” Blow a kiss.
Yes, our bedtime routine was elaborate. Thank goodness that as she grew, bedtime became simpler.
Now, the children brush their teeth together and then put on pajamas.
We gather in the living room as a family for a book, a song (or two if we cannot decide), and a prayer.
Each child visits the kitchen for a sip of water, gathers blankies or babies, and then are off to bed where my husband and I bestow hugs, kisses, and the occasional wet-raspberry on the cheek.
If we skip anything in our bedtime ritual, the children seem to come bounding back out of bed like bunnies.
Oh no! I need this day to end with positive, loving words and not a rant that will send them to therapy when they are adults!
So, we savor the moments and REALLY try not to rush the bedtime routine.
If you need help establishing the brush, book, bed routine with your child, download The Three Bees, a delightful story about using a bedtime routine helps you wake up fresh and ready for the day.
Bedtime Stories to Read Aloud
An important part of bedtime preparations is reading aloud.
No matter how difficult the day has been, bedtime stories seem to transport us from the hectic backdrop of our day to a calming place.
It doesn’t take long to read a short book or just a chapter from something the older children will also enjoy. So, we rotate who chooses the book (unless we are in a chapter book that I have selected and those always take several nights to complete.)
Sometimes, my husband or I will read the bedtime story, but more often, our older children ask to read. (Sign me up for more opportunities to get them reading!)
When we are lacking inspiration in our own library of books, we take a glance at the 100 Best Read-Aloud list created by Scholastic.
This list includes a variety of stories for all ages, but we are intent to read them all.
If you want to work your way through the 100 Best Read-Aloud books, use this free printable checklist to mark your family’s progress.
What does your bedtime routine include?
I know you have your children brush their teeth, right? But, do you read bedtime stories aloud? Sing a song? Tell me by leaving a comment.
This post was sponsored by Orajel™. The opinions and text are all mine.