Cara Krenn is a writer, editor, and mom to fraternal twin girls and a singleton boy. She is the author of the e-book Twinthusiasm: Survival Lessons for Your First Year Raising Twins and blogs at www.twinthusiasm.com. She shares her tried-and-true tips below.
Bedtime can be a tough time for families. Everyone’s tired, cranky, and patience is wearing thin (particularly mom’s in my case!) Here are four quick tips that have helped my family simplify our evenings:
Meal plan for dinner. It’s both time efficient and cost-saving to plan ahead when it comes to dinnertime. Many moms find it helpful to draft a dinner chart for the week every Sunday night. Knowing what you’re going to cook in advance can help streamline the entire evening process. It also helps ensure your family is getting diversely healthy meals.
Aim for a consistent bedtime. Research shows that the actual time your kids go to bed isn’t as important as going to bed at the same time every night. Inconsistent bedtimes have been linked to both poor behavior and performance in kids. Bedtimes may run slack in the summer, and we all should have some wiggle room for special events, but it’s important for kids to consistently say “good night” around the same time every evening.
Create a bedtime routine. Make your children creatures of good habits and find a sequence that works for your family. At our house, this consists of taking a bath, eating dinner, brushing teeth, reading books (my older kids briefly read to themselves while I put my baby to sleep, then we read together), using the restroom, then singing our goodnight song – always in that order. Most kids thrive on routine, and going through the same sequence each night will help you stay on schedule – plus kids can better know what’s expected of them.
Don’t rush and be firm. Kids are masters at coming up with “just one more” need, be it another book, song, or kiss. At our house, we’ve found it most effective to take our time with the bedtime routine, particularly not rushing through story time, but trying to be firm when the requests for “one more” of anything arise. Children can always tell when you’re trying to speed through a story or song, so muster up an extra ounce of patience to make your kids feel important at the end of the night. But when it’s time for bed, it’s time for bed!