Bedtime has always followed a strict routine in this house, and for the most part it seems to work really well. Of course there are days when it all goes out the window – nights out, special occasions, holidays etc but on an average day the following happens:
- School pick up. I collect the bigger 2 from school at 3.30pm, or 4.30pm if they are doing an after school club (football, computer or Lego club usually!) We walk home and chat about their day. I often let Max walk too, it’s nice for him to be out of the pushchair, and our route home is pretty much road free.
- When we get home, the kids get any reading books or homework out of the way. It’s really hard to know when to fit this in – it seems a bit harsh getting them to do it straight after school but the walk home freshens their minds, and if we leave it too late then it’s just a huge battle.
- Dinner time. We all eat together between 5 and 5.30pm. The kids are fairly good eaters (with the exception of Jacob who will tell you he doesn’t like anything except beans on toast. This is not true). Max eats absolutley anything. Dinner tonight was sausage casserole with mash – we tend to eat fairly typical family meals, nothing too exotic.
- After dinner play. Because the kids got their homework out of the way earlier, I am happy to let them play while I clear up the kitchen. They either play out on their bikes, go on the swings in the garden or get the colouring books out. Ocassionally they play Skylanders on the computer, but I try to limit this to once or twice a week.
- Max bath time. Some nights I need to ferry Gemma and Jacob to various activities – swimming, Brownies or Beavers. This is squeezed in around Max’s bath time. He loves the bath and will happily splash about for a long time, tipping water over himself from a bucket and playing with the rubber ducks.
- Gemma and Jacob bath/shower time. Depending on time and the childrens preference, they will have a quick bath or a shower. They are at an age where they can do a lot of this themselves, which is really helpful when time is short!
- Wind down time. All 3 of my children love books, so after bath time we will snuggle up on someones bed and read a bedtime story. Sometimes Gemma will read to us, but 9 times out of 10 they like to be read to. Max drinks his bedtime milk during story time.
- Bed time. Max will settle himself in the cot with his zebra comforter and go straight to sleep. Gemma and Jacob are allowed their bedside lamps on for a bit and will read (or look at the pictures) for a little while before lights out.
- Adult evening. Because this is such a tried and tested routine, it means that once the kids are in bed, we know we have a good portion of the evening ahead of us, to catch up on work, watch TV or have a bath. During the week it’s just me here as Kevin works away, hence a lot of my blogging gets done after the childrens bedtime! All being well the kids will sleep for 12-13 hours.
Do you have a bedtime routine? What works for you? Have you ever had problems establishing a routine?