How are your evenings usually spent?
Doing whatever brings you joy? Chilling on the sofa watching something grown up? Running your sideline business from home? Catching up on housework? Or are you still tearing your hair out, waiting for your children to fall asleep of their own accord and wishing at least one routine would work for you?
We’ve all seen the blogs and posts of the ‘perfect Mamas’ who seem to have everything drilled down in military precision of timings, but how many people’s lives actually run that way? I once signed up for a download on a blog that was 8 routines for my family with a new baby. But when none of those routines worked for us, it just made me feel like I was failing. Why could I not get all of my family to fit into the timings set by this ‘expert’ from the other side of the pond? She gave me 8 of them, surely we should be able to fit into at least one of them! But no, we couldn’t.
But then I realised, we are human! Only human! Especially human!
We’re not designed to beat to someone else’s drum, we need to each find our own rhythm. Our own ebb and flow with which to use as a foundation to grow our own routines.
What I Am Not
I am not built to wake at 5:30am, 2 hours before my children so I can do the housework, read the Bible, drink coffee and jog 3 miles. It’s just not me. Given the choice, I would rather be asleep until after my children wake and let them bring me breakfast (one day my treasures, one day!).
Ok, so that picture isn’t me, but it is how I’d like to think I do look when I sleep 😉
But seriously, most nights, at some point in the night, one or both of my children find their way into my bed. If I wake before them in the morning I DO NOT MOVE!! Not an inch! If I move, they wake, so I keep as still as possible.
I’m a Night Owl
In the evenings is when I get my time because then my time is infinite! It’s a seemingly never-ending promise of having the chance to do ALL the things I ever wanted to do. In fact, I have so much time in the evenings, I sometimes even squander a bit of it on mindless Facebook scrolling 🙊 I go to bed late, too late, and always vow that tomorrow will be different, that I will go to bed before midnight. But it never is.
How to Improve Bedtimes
But I digress, this post isn’t about MY routines, (although I will be posting about that soon) today I want to talk about your children’s routines!
Before you can reach the point where you can do whatever you want in the evenings, you need to be able to have your children happily asleep at a time that suits you all. And that does not mean sleep training methods, definitely no cry it out or disappearing chair either. I’m just talking about getting into a routine of ‘we’ve done this, then we’re doing that, then that, then it’s time for sleep’ and when that’s what always happens, that’s what your children will come to expect and accept as truth.
Planning a Routine
To help you along with this, I recommend my Bedtime Routine Cards, which you can get for free until the end of the month when you use code MARCHROUTINE at the checkout. You can print these cards off yourself at home, and use them with your children to create a routine that
I recommend sitting down with them and chatting about how they want their evenings to run, what they’d like to do, and in what order. Obviously, you may need to encourage they include certain things, such as the brushing teeth card, but I’d suggest letting them have a certain amount of ownership over the order of events.
Next, pin the cards up somewhere they can see them at bedtime, or peg to a piece of string on a wall as we have done. Then when bedtime comes around, let your child take the lead and tell you what they need to do next in their schedule. When they reach the last activity of sleep, they’ll have nowhere else to go, and no excuses to give you.
You’ll notice within the cards, there is one for My EPIC Journal. It is the loveliest part of our day. I created My Epic Toddler Journal to be a part of our daily bedtime routine. Each evening after the last of the bathroom trips, and just before we read a book, we talk about our day and complete a page of the journal. There is space on each daily page to make notes on the activities of the day, talk about the weather, their mood and emotions, any gratitude they have for anything and any favourite books they have read.
We do try to do this every d
Have you tried the My Epic Toddler Journal yet? What do you think of it? Have you got any tips for happier bedtimes? Join in below.