Bedtime around here is getting out of control. We have always hated bedtime, especially in our early days when putting five kids under five to bed was so hectic!!! When I was expecting baby #5 our kids went up to bed about 8:30pm and it was 9:15pm before we were done!!! Being pregnant and chasing four kids around all day was so exhausting that I was falling asleep around 7pm and wasn't much help to my husband. So after consulting with friends with large families, we decided to start putting the kids to bed at 7pm. It was such a blessing, (and we just happen to start it during the October time change when the kids bodies really thought it was 8pm anyway).
At first it was hard adjusting to everyone, early bed meant earlier awake(good thing I am a morning person), earlier lunch, and earlier dinner, but soon we saw the huge benefits in getting them to bed earlier. The time we finally got to spend together was a new world for us, as well as getting to go out for date night without having my mother in love or sitter have to put the kids to bed, or hearing the kids whine about us leaving!!! We also got to spend special time with the big kids one on one, I got to start participating in women's groups, and go to social gatherings with friends!!!
As with all advice I give, DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY!!! (I have had friends try to do my schedule...and it only works for some) This is what works for us...not everyone. Many dads don't get home till late, so obviously it wouldn't be best for dad not to see the kids!!! Also we are very flexible...so don't think we never deviate from this time.
With summer here and my daughter from college sharing a room with the five and three year old, it has thrown off our night time schedule. She will lay in bed taking her summer on line class, emailing friends, or facebook stalking...so the girls don't go down as simply. I have also been blessed to have the big kids put the girls to bed for me but it gets so confusing if we don't all stick to a schedule...(So back to schedule-see bottom)
The baby is easily in bed at 7pm...mostly because at 7months pregnant, he tires me out!!! (who am I kidding...he tired me out before I was pregnant!!!) Then the three middle boys 7,9,11 are great about getting in their room around 7pm, they are usually good at playing legos, playmobile, cards, and games. Some times we need to remind them to quiet things down. They pretty much know that if they fight or tattle, the lights will go off and no more fun to be had.
The teenagers know if we can't hear them and they are behaving in their room...(computer locked, tv off, and cell phones in our room) than they are on their own. So far --- So good...not that we don't worry and pray for the best.
How could I forget...mom and dad to bed!!! 9 is great, 10 is becoming normal...11 is crazy!!!
We had to reestablish the rules especially for the little girls:
1. GO POTTY
2. SHOWER/ BATH/WASH UP
3. BRUSH TEETH
4. PUT ON PJ'S
5. SAY PRAYERS (especially guardian angel prayer for no bad dreams)
6. READ BEDTIME STORY
7. GET IN BED
8. PUT ON TAPE OR LISTEN TO ODDESSY ON THE RADIO
9. READ QUIETLY
10 STAY IN BED!!!
I know I list no brainer things...but I didn't write go potty and my 14 year old said tonight...add that mom, C just wet her pants in her crib...can never be too detailed!!! C also advised me tonight that she just wanted to cuddle, when I handed her a stuffed animal, she said, no with my family!!! I said we wouldn't fit in her crib!!!
Sometimes our schedule works and sometimes it doesn't...we just keep trying to maintain a schedule, especially before the baby comes.
THY WILL BE DONE!!! +JMJ+