All responses taken from our Facebook groups: Foster Parenting Toolbox and Kinship Parenting Group.
Bedtime can be the hardest time of the day for parents of young children. We asked current foster, kinship and adoptive parents what their bedtime tricks and tips were. Here’s what they suggested:
“The kids have a nightly checklist and Alexa goes off at a set time reminding them to start on their checklist each night, that way if hubby or I are caught up with something they don’t get behind schedule. We then follow up to be sure they’re on schedule. Checklist includes hygiene tasks, tidying bedrooms, and quiet activity/unwind time.”
“We do ‘settle down time’ after dinner, bath time, then go to bed and read a short story before going to sleep. We find this works really well for us as a routine.”
“Consistency! At least until they have it down pat. It’s not a question. Are you ready for bed? Of course they aren’t. It’s time for bed. Make it a statement. Something else we do for our littles: 15 minutes before bed we’ll ask, ‘do you want to pee and brush your teeth now or in 15 mins?’ Still gives some semblance of control and choice while still sticking to time frames. We never use something we want them to do as punishment or for consequences i.e. using earlier bedtime as punishment.”
“Exactly the same time every night. Same routine. My grandson is mad because it’s summer and he can’t stay awake to stay up late. He said I made him too used to sleeping.”
“No screens at least an hour before.”
“Snack, bath with epsom salts (you can get them with melatonin too) and read a book in bed.”
“Vinyl window light blocker, keep the bedroom cool, use a noise machine (we use an air purifier), keeping the same routine no matter what: bath, snack, brushing teeth, book, bed or whatever works for your family.”
“Another one that helps us (our littles are 4-year-old twins), is to separate them. I have a cot in our bedroom and one goes to sleep in our room. Then when we go to bed we move her to the shared bedroom. They do so much better when they are separated.”
“Be consistent with bathtime, then bedtime and read a book or music (lullabies).”
“For little ones it’s always been the 4 B’s: bath, brush your teeth, book and bed.”
“Prayer and stories about Jesus.”
Want to be part of the next discussion? Join one of our groups. Look out for “Bedtime Routines” part two next week.