Bedtime in our home used to be a stressful time for my family. When Alex was little for some unknown reason, I thought that putting children to bed was supposed be a quick procedure with plenty of structure. Two children later and a much gentler parenting approach our bedtime is now much more calm and intimate. At the end the day I cherish the quiet individual time that I spend with each of my children before they drift off to sleep.
Bedtime in our home is not scheduled but it does have a flow to it. Our bedtime routine begins between 8 and 9 and all of the kids are usually asleep between 9 and 10. Not every bedtime in our home runs smoothly but every bedtime is handled gently. Here is what a typical bedtime looks like in our home….
Audrey is almost three and is the first to go to bed. She usually informs me that she is ready to go “night night” around 8 pm. She tells everyone goodnight and we head to our room (she shares our room). We brush her teeth, turn the noise machine on, the lights off then we race to the bed. Audrey always gets to the bed first, then she assures me that we both won. We snuggle up and she latches on. For the first five minutes or so she switches from breastfeeding to talking. Tonight she unlatched and informed me that she wished that she could fly, inside of course because outside would be too scary, but she can’t fly because she has arms not wings. I want to always remember these moments, these conversations. Finally, the talking becomes less and less and she drifts off to sleep. I am able to roll off of the bed while she rolls over to find her favorite sleeping position on her side.
Ava’s bedtime begins shortly after Audrey goes to sleep. She picks a book, says goodnight to everyone and we head to her room we brush her teeth and she tells me a story. Her stories are amazing and creative, I cannot wait until she begins to write them down. After she tells me her story I read her the book that she chose while we snuggle on her bed. Next is lights out and time for me to rub her back, arms, and legs. She sometimes enjoys listening to her indigo dreams CD to help her drift off.
I kiss her gently and she typically rolls over just like her sister and is quickly off to sleep.
Once both of the girls are asleep Alex and I read a book or we play a board game. Next, he brushes his teeth while I get his bed ready for him. He watches ‘Endless Summer’ every night at bedtime. He has been falling asleep to surfing since he was two, I say he watches it but really he rolls over and listens to it while he falls asleep. Alex is all about routine, I think that surfing will be a part of his bedtime for years to come. Alex has the hardest time of the three settling down. I stay with him and comfort him until he is able to relax. Once he is relaxed he is quickly asleep.
These routines take time. My children are worth my time. Often there are plenty of other things that I could be spending my time catching up on and sometimes I have to remind myself that these things can wait because soon enough I will no longer be a part of Alex, Ava, and Audrey’s bedtime ritual. It will be then that I will catch up on my housework while daydreaming of the bedtime with my babies, this is why I choose to cherish these tender intimate moments with my children while I can.
I must also mention that during the night two little people wake up and make their way to the family bed to continue their night of sleep (you can see the spots for my husband and I)…..
What does bedtime look like in your home?