Toddlers are full of energy. Period. Whether they are reading quietly, laughing repeatedly over making playdoh poo, screaming at the other for taking away a toy that he / she wasn't playing with, taking turns watching their favourite cartoon TV series, competing for attention by screaming and jostling, helping each other, crying over nothing, ... you name it. It is exhausting for parents. Still, one thing that I can rely on in the evenings is... BEDTIME!
We are very regimented in this aspect of our family life. Bedtime for the children are absolutely sacred because we need that quiet time for our brains and ears to rest and for our aching bodies to simply flop without any physical contact. Importantly, our children need it too especially when they no longer nap during the day. Thankfully, the husband and I share the same parenting value. It does make it 'easier' with spousal support.
Our bedtime routine starts at dinner which takes place 2 hours before their bedtime and the countdown begins with the following sequences:
- Dinner is served.
- Dinner is removed when they tell me that they are done.
- Dessert of fruit salad is served.
- Dessert is removed when they me that they are done.
- Clean up.
- Quiet play / rowdy play depending on what daddy decides when he gets home.
- Bath / shower.
- Back into their bedroom to get changed, quiet play and cuddle.
- Lights in their bedroom is dimmed. Final cuddle and placed in their cots, wide awake.
- We say our good nights and shut their bedroom door behind us as we leave.
Like us, our children are creatures of habit. They know what's going to happen, what's happening and what's coming up next. That predictability breeds contentment in all of us and especially when the going gets tough.