Hands up if you find bedtime stressful? I must admit I do at times, usually because by then I am exhausted myself and the boys seem to find a second wind and any excuse not to go to sleep. They need to use the toilet again, they must have a drink or they want just one more book. The clock is ticking and my section of the evening is quickly evaporating.
At least it’s not just me; according to research by blinds-2go it is the most demanding aspect of parenting. Our bedtime routine is quite structured, we try and let their body have cues to go to sleep because its such a familiar pattern, bath, bedtime story and cuddles. But even that can fail regularly when the boys seem to take longer and longer to switch off, they start chatting or giggling with each other and before you know it your feeling frazzled and grumpy! The idyllic vision of parenthood you imagined does not quite work out then…
You can try different measures in the hope of a reasonable bedtime, Leah Brandwood, Head of Design at Blinds 2go mentioned the right environment for sleep. One aspect of this is black out roller blinds, these are especially useful in summer when its still light when your children are going to bed. If their bedroom is dark they think it is bedtime and they are not missing out on anything exciting.
We have a gro-clock which helps too, so the boys can see the little moon come up and realise yes actually it is time to sleep! Sleep is so important for children it’s worth hanging in there and establishing a good routine, not just for your sanity but also for the benefit of your child’s development. The average needed between five and eleven years is 10-12 hours sleep a night, so if they are not nodding off until midnight they really will be struggling the next day! Limit screen time before bed and if you can hold off putting a TV in there room try to for as long as you possibly can. The NHS call it “junk sleep” if children have played console games or watched TV too close to bedtime, the time before bed should be relaxing not getting worked up because your brother has just destroyed your house in Minecraft! Get your children reading something calming instead.
I think the most stressful periods of the day with children will vary with age, I am okay with eating out generally now but there was a time when my youngest threw his cutlery across the restaurant so back then I think that would have been one of my difficult moments!