Thank you to Nick with shirtsthatgo.com for sharing this article with us!
(Used with permission)
When our first son was 2, the bedtime drama began. Our approach to the bedtime routine wasn’t working anymore… getting him to listen, follow instructions, and get ready for bed was a serious battle – every night. Let’s face it, we all get tired by the end of the day and it can be a struggle for many of us getting everything done - bath, brushing teeth, pajamas and a little fun before bed. Our son was desperate for independence and control… we had it, and he wanted it! Phrases like “I do it myself” and “Me do it” come to mind. Sound familiar?
We needed a new strategy… we assembled a task list for the bedtime routine. We pulled clip art pictures off the internet to depict the key activities for our son – with pictures he could easily understand. We printed these out onto regular paper and cut them into small cards, with the name written below the graphic. The full list includes: bath, potty, pajamas, brush teeth, pick up toys, read a story, go to bed.
Sounds way too simple, right? It was a HUGE success!
To make it work, we gave our son full control of the bedtime routine – to include these 7 key activities. He could choose the order he wanted, following the simple rules we gave: rule 1 – “pajamas” after “bath”, and rule 2 – “go to bed” is last.
From the first night we explained this to him, he understood immediately what to do and was completely onboard. He took the sheets and laid them on the floor in the hallway. He would set the order he wanted and then turn over the completed items once he was done with them. The real magic here is not so much in the exact items listed but in the handing over of control to our toddler.
The cool part of this routine is that it can easily be customized for your family. Over time we have changed “read a story” to “bedtime privilege.” Privilege is just our name for that reward that we give our kids just before bed. For some, it is a favorite TV show while for others it is a few chapters from a book. As our son grew older, we gave him a bit more control by letting him choose between his favorite show and a story before bed. Our son is now 6, with a younger brother who is 2 … the bedtime list continues to hold its charm for them.
About the Author
Nick Morgan, a dad of two boys, is the owner of www.ShirtsThatGo.com, a website that sells transportation and construction vehicle themed t-shirts for kids and toddlers. The current ShirtsThatGo kids t-shirt lineup includes train t-shirts, fire truck t-shirts, and airplane t-shirts with more designs coming soon.