Rivkie Brownstein, Beis Moshiach
Bedtime can be a challenge! The end of the day is when our energy is low and our patience limited. Below are some tips that may make bedtime a bit easier and less of a struggle.
Starting the bedtime routine at least an hour before bedtime is helpful since it avoids tantrums and power struggles that may come from simply being too overtired to listen well.
1) Bring Hashem into it:
Our children are precious gifts from Hashem. Hashem is together with us every step of the way – a partner with us in our parenting. When we remember that we are not alone, we can turn to Hashem for guidance and ask for help. Even just thinking or talking to Hashem: “Hashem please help me remain patient and guide me through this bedtime routine” can infuse us with a lot of peace and strength that will help set us up for success!
2) Baths/Showers and Pajamas:
Baths or showers are very relaxing and help calm down the body for sleep. Whether or not shower night is every night or only some nights, I like to set a timer for a time to meet in our “pajama spot.” Once everyone is in pajamas, we put on some music and do the “pajama dance.” Sometimes my kids make up their own pajama songs! This gets the kids eager to get into pajamas and adds an element of fun to an otherwise ordinary task.
3) Bedtime Snack:
A bedtime snack is a good way to avoid the dreaded “Mommy! I’m hungry!” at bedtime. We usually set a ten-minute timer for a snack and the kids can choose a quick snack like apples and peanut butter, pretzels and hummus, or rice cakes with cheese. This reminds the kids that this is our last food for the day, helping to eliminate the bedtime eating requests.
4) Shema and Stories:
After brushing teeth and saying Shema, my older ones listen to Chitas for Kids and my younger children fall asleep to some soft nigunim. If kids don’t sleep well with music, reading books together is also a nice thing to do. I try to hug/rub each child’s back for a few minutes each night so they can end off each day with that precious connection.
5) Self Care
It’s not possible to pour from an empty cup! Asking myself what I need to do for myself in order to make bedtime run smoothly can help me figure out what my needs are. For me personally, I put my younger ones to bed and then I leave the house while my husband puts the older kids to sleep. I discovered that I need some fresh air/time alone in order to spend time with my husband in a better frame of mind once the children are sleeping. For some, it might be taking deep breaths in your room, or delegating more – whatever works for you!
Reflecting on what we need to help us remain present and calm is a process.
Remember: progress, not perfection!
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