Raise your hand if your kid(s) are still struggling with morning and bedtime routines from the spring time change (and yes, it’s nearly summer)? Do they whine? Cry? Throw themselves on the floor? Try to negotiate? Or do they flat not listen and ignore you? Welcome to the club! These sweet kiddos don’t deserve such a change in their sleep cycle that can quite literally wreck havoc. I wish it wasn’t “a thing!” Not to get too political, but hopefully lawmakers see how silly this is soon—-fingers (and toes) crossed!
In the meantime, let’s dive into some ideas that may be helpful for your little or big kids! Now that time change has come and gone, there’s not any time for preparation so we have to “tame the beast” that can throw us for a whirlwind as parents.
- CONSISTENCY and ROUTINE is key. That’s a big one, but also hard with extracurricular activities. I GET that, completely. However, even if the time frame is off, it’s still important to have the routine be in place, such as: dinner, bath, brush teeth, bedtime book, prayers, etc. For the older ones, you may throw in tv time, phone time, or homework, but would caution heavily on how much screen time right before bedtime (this could be done earlier in the evening). If you can stick to a schedule for the most part, do it! It will help align your children’s internal clock so they know what and when to expect things.
- Anyone up for incentives? This is NOT bribing!! This may work for the littles, where you can use a sticker chart and reward them going to bed on time and once they earn x amount of stickers (be reasonable per their age), then they get to choose something special! You can do the same for waking up if you have little bears in the morning 😉 Tweens and teens may benefit from incentives too.
- Make bedtime special and encourage them to be in bed even if they don’t fall asleep right away. You can provide suggestions on them using make believe play (my daughter likes to play school in bed sometimes) or offer for them to read or look at a book. Another idea is playing or talking with stuffed animals/baby dolls as long as they stay in bed. I can’t stress the “staying in bed” part enough! Give them the choice to be awake and they’ll likely fall asleep quickly if their bodies are relaxed and not fighting you on going to sleep.
- Get your tools at the ready! Blackout curtain, sound machines, music-all of these small implementations can make a big difference! Weighted blankets are IN and have amazing benefits!! It can often settle kids into bed nicely.
- Waking up: It’s always hard waking your kids up, especially for school (insert cringe face). Give prompts if you have the time, so go in 10 minutes before they need to be up and gently rub their backs, speak softy and sweetly, and leave their door open. Then after 5 minutes, turn on a dim light (if possible) to alert them some more and say, “5 more minutes and it’s time to get up”. I always ask my daughter what she’s looking forward to in her day or something yummy she wants for breakfast. Sometimes it perks her up and she’s able to move easier, yet sometimes it doesn’t-that’s ok! Remind yourself to not get too frustrated with them because we as adults don’t like to wake up in the morning either (typically-ha)! Also, use validating and encouraging words such as, “You’re tired, I can see it, but you can do it”! A lot of this falls on tone and usage of words which can set the mood for the morning-choose wisely haha! Again, be consistent! Teens are a different ballgame, but give time prompts. I am also in the camp for them “learning their lesson” if they are late to school (driving or non-driving kids).
Good luck Mamas!