When Jack was about 8 or 9 weeks old we started a bedtime routine with him. At first it started out more for us than for him. I was feeling very scattered at night and felt like *I* needed some consistency. Three years late the routine is essentially the same, Daddy gets him undressed, I bathe and dress him and then he goes and rocks with Daddy for a few minutes before Daddy
tosses lays him into bed for the night. We stumble every once in a while, but for the most part the routine has served us well.
In recent months, bedtime has become a struggle. Not the actual going to sleep part, but the getting into the bath, getting out of the bath, getting dressed, teeth brushed etc. Jack was fighting every step of the way and it was getting out of control. There was some yelling (mostly me) and some crying (mostly Jack) and lots of frustration for everyone. Jack didn’t want to take his clothes off, he didn’t want to get in the bath, and when it came time to get dressed, he would run around his room like a little naked maniac. Some nights it was like a wrestling match just to get him in his pajamas. And don’t even get me started on teeth brushing. At the end of each night I was exhausted, frustrated and looking for answers. I have no idea what was running through Jack’s little head, but I’m sure it wasn’t much different.
The pre-bath antics have worked themselves out and that is realatively calm now. As for the post-bath stuff? Well, a few weeks ago I stumbled on a solution that seems to be working. Jack and I race Daddy and Xander after bath to see who can be ready for bed first. Jack loves to win at anything, so one night I said “Let’s win and be ready for bed before Xander and Daddy.” It worked like a charm. He got dressed with no complaint, brushed his teeth and ran to the rocking chair well before Daddy and Xander were ready.
Now almost every night we race to see who is ready first. And almost every night Jack wins (and we
hardly ever never cheat). The bedtime battles are pretty much gone. Sure there are a few rough nights here and there, but nothing like before. I just wish that I had thought of this sooner.
This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.