My husband and I have nailed our little ones’ bedtime routines. After extensive research and a lot of test-and-learn tactics, by the time my second baby was born, I had found what worked best for my family and with some slight adaptations, it still works beautifully for my now 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
They love bedtime. We don’t go through the crying, complaining, the excuses, none of that. Our evenings are incredibly smooth. Their bedtime routine is short, sweet, enjoyable (by the four of us) and most importantly, consistent. They go to bed at the same time every night and wake up the next morning refreshed and with an incredible amount of energy. And that’s very important for their growth and emotional and physical well-being.
But what about Mom? Definitely not the same energy, nor a consistent nighttime routine. I focused so much, for such a long time, on creating the best step-by-step routines for our children, that I forgot about myself in the evenings. I would spend hours cleaning, cooking, folding clothes, working to get done whatever I didn’t accomplish during business hours, and doing so much, my husband and I at some point late at night would basically crash or faint in bed, which is the worst way to go to sleep.
That’s why this post is not about tips and tricks to create the best bedtime routine for your children. It’s about the importance of creating one for you, Mom. Yes, you too need a bedtime routine, for your own health, to wake up refreshed and ready for the new day. You also need it for your family’s well-being. If Mom is doing great, everyone will be great.
Don’t go to bed too late
Prioritize sleep. I know time without the kids allows you to do many things, but don’t try to do it all. Limit your commitments. Simplify your schedule. Do less. Prepare for tomorrow, but if there are things that can wait, just don’t rush to do them today. Sometimes, some things can wait.
Limit screen time and set up night shift on your devices
Earlier this year I learned from my fellow MMB contributor Adita Lang that there is a night shift you can set up on your phone, tablet or computer. This feature lets you manually or automatically move the display towards the warmer, yellower part of the color spectrum at night for better sleep. Mine is set up for 6:00pm until 7:00am.
Create your own little pleasant rituals
Think of relaxing things you enjoy. Start doing these things consistently and in a few days, your brain will understand that those are signals you are sending your body to relax and get ready to sleep. It works with adults the way it does for children: bath, pajamas, book, prayer, song, night-night. My bedtime routine includes bath, quick beauty routine (sometimes a facial mask), pajamas, cup of caffeine-free tea, book and prayer. And when my husband joins me, it is even more relaxing and enjoyable.
Celebrate your wins
Going to bed thinking about what you didn’t do well doesn’t work. It’s very common, moms, but we need to stop doing this. It reinforces negativity and brings guilt and to some extent, anxiety. As part your bedtime routine, include a few minutes to reflect on your day, highlighting what you did well and thanking God for your blessings.
A recent article published by Thrive Global shared some ideas on simple bedtime routines to help you have a good night’s sleep and set you up for success the next day. It quotes a physician-scientist specializing in sleep, who said that “any wind-down time is helpful. She recommends starting with five minutes, then building up to a 20-minute routine. Use this as a dedicated time to process your thoughts from the day and anticipate what needs to get done the following day.”
These are some of the things I have learned and put into practice, so I want you to give these a try, too and experience the benefits of getting ready to sleep in the smoothest way possible. You do it for your children. Do it for yourself, too! You need it, you deserve it, you can do it.