Ever since we took Beth’s nuk away, bedtime has been deteriorating. It hit the low point on the day that we allowed Alex to start sleeping in the upper bunk. Beth, of course, also wanted to sleep up there. It took hours to get her to fall asleep that night and it was a fight to get her to stay in bed. After some research online about how to get kids to go to bed, I decided that a bedtime routine was what the kids needed. That way they know exactly what they need to do, and when. And they know when we’re getting to the end and they will have to crawl in bed.

The first night we had a few less steps than we do now. I think we added 3 or 4 during the “trial” run. Also the first week they got a sticker for each step that they completed successfully. At the end of the week, if they got all their stickers, they got to stay up and extra hour on Saturday night. They both got to stay up that first week. 🙂 But during that first week I decided that 182 stickers (13 steps * 2 kids * 7 days) was a bit much and I went looking for another idea. First I was going to just check-mark each step and they could get sticker for the last one. Then I realized that if I got a set of small stampers and stamp pads, that would work too. So I ordered them with two day shipping and got them before we started the second week. The stamps work great, plus they’re faster than the stickers. The rule is that they can pick one stamp to use per night, and then only one color so as to try and keep the stamp pad clean.

Here’s the list of tasks. I set the order of the first 2 and the last 2, but the kids got to decide the order of the middle ones. That way they felt that they had some say in what was going on. Thus we ended up with story time before pajama time, which isn’t the way I’d do it, but it seems to be working. Note that the last step is key – they have to stay in bed all night or they don’t get their sticker in the morning. This was an attempt to get Beth to stop getting out of bed and coming out to find us. (And it worked!)

  1. Snack Time
  2. Put away Toys
  3. Go Potty
  4. Wash Hands
  5. Brush Teeth
  6. Read Books
  7. Put on Pajamas
  8. Put Clothes in Hamper
  9. Monster Spray
  10. Get Glow Stick
  11. Get Stuffed Animals
  12. Get Tucked in Bed
  13. Stay in Bed until Morning

And here’s the chart:

(This is Alex’s from last week with the stamps)

Last night was the first night that they didn’t go to bed at the same time. Because Beth refused to put toys away one night and didn’t get her stamp. I tricked her into going upstairs willingly when said she wanted to wash her hands (it was time anyway). Got all the way to putting on pajamas before she balked. When she started to go downstairs, I said she wouldn’t get her stamps and then she wouldn’t get to stay up late next week either. She came back and finished the chart. She gave her usual protests about being scared to go to sleep. And then didn’t cry after I closed the door. She was asleep when Alex went to bed. We’ll see if she gets all her stamps this week. 🙂

4 thoughts on “Bedtime!

  1. The fact that she came back when you warned her she wouldn’t get to stay up next week if she went downstairs, shows that she understands the purpose of the chart and the benefit of completing all her tasks.
    Both her and Alex have learned quite a few of the steps without looking at the chart and just automatically do them. This was a great idea.

  2. Monster Spray?? Glow Stick??
    The bedtime sequence sounds like a great idea but I don’t remember Monster Spray & Glow Sticks from my bettime routine as a child.

  3. The glow stick was a direct replacement for the nuk. And I had monster spray as a kid, and we used it with Alex around the same age. That one’s pretty common with small children.

  4. You never turned into a monster when we used monster spray. But I think there was some residual in effect when Leigh started sleeping in that room. Beware!