Lately, bedtime at our house has been a scene of chaos.
Commands of “Brush your teeth! Get your jammies on! Go potty!” are blatantly ignored, while my and my husband’s patience are next to nil.
The littles go on the offense: running around the house, slamming their legs down repeatedly on their beds as if they are mermaid tails or tossing stuffed animals back and forth all while incessantly giggling.
This would be funny if it weren’t 9 PM and their parents weren’t desperate for a moment of peace and quiet.
But it is and we are.
Threats of no treats are empty, worthless ammo, so last week, I spent an hour reading articles about bedtime routines.
I have to admit, since this isn’t my first time at the rodeo, I felt a little foolish having to research something I feel I should have nailed down. For a time, I did but with the addition of each daughter, the loss of control has humbled me.
Upon reflection, I recognized that if I want my children to be calm, I, too, must model the same behavior.
Like most things, when it comes to solving problems, the change begins with me.
My days are spent in constant motion. Even when they are at school, I am cramming in chores, particularly those which are easier without their presence like grocery shopping and laundry. Throw in after-school activities, dinner-time and homework and next thing you know, it’s time to get the kids ready for bed.
There’s very little time to wind down, for all of us.
So, I asked myself: “How can I make them look forward to bedtime?” Instead of this battle of wills, how can I get them to buy in?
Enter this article by Nurture and Thrive and this one by Picklebums. Their suggestions include lullabies and massages, something I used to do when they were babies but have since stopped.
I approached that same evening with a zen-like calmness rivaled only by Buddha himself.
Instead of yelling at her to brush her teeth, I grabbed her hand and gently led her to the bathroom to begin the process. Instead of picking up her room as fast as possible while tossing her the jammies, I sat down on the floor and helped her put them on. I read her books, as usual, and stayed on the edge of the bed to sing a lullaby while scratching her back. I then repeated this to some degree for three more children. . . .
It seems like it would take longer but in actuality, my children were left calm and relaxed and thus, for the love of all that is holy, stayed put.
Thank you Jesus and internet blogs.
Slower motions. Lower frequencies. Tiny changes make the biggest difference.