Solving Bedtime Woes
Now, the logical solution would be to have the oldest go to bed the latest, right? Well, in my book, not if the oldest is acting like the youngest. I wanted to devise a plan that tackled both our bedtime issues as well as some behavior issues I saw in both girls throughout the day. I thought I’d mix things up from our standard discipline and behavior strategies. I truly believe it brings in a breath of fresh air by mixing things up and bringing in new ideas. Here was my solution.
Solving Bedtime Woes – Materials Needed
- Letter Stickers
- Small Mason Jars
- Colored Paper
- Two or More Children that Are Struggling to Stay in Bed – No Amazon link provided. I’m sure you’ll have an easy enough time coming up with those on your own.
Solving Bedtime Woes – The Strategy
The first step was to count out a small group of items. I chose Cheerios. They each counted out 30 Cheerios. Why 30? Who knows. Sounded good to me. I try and make these moments teachable too. We made 3 rows of ten and practiced counting by 10’s – trying to figure out how many groups of 10 we would need to make 30. It’s a multiplication problem, but if you can introduce them to these concepts early, it will help in their mathematical development.
We put the Cheerios in a jar. The concept is that the jar has 30 Cheerios. Every time the child is whining, id disobedient or demonstrates a behavior we are trying to eradicate, a Cheerio is removed from the jar.
At the end of the day, we count up the Cheerios. Whoever has the most still left gets to stay up “later.” I put later in quotes because we really just start bedtime earlier. Normally, we’d try start bedtime routine around 7:30 and have them down by 8:00. Now, we start the routine at 7:00. This gives the first child the opportunity to go to bed, settle down and fall asleep. We have found in the past that if one goes to bed earlier, sleep comes quicker. This is a newer technique, so I’ll have to let you know if it continues to work.
The final step is to have the kids use letter stickers to put their names on the jar. I just traced the circle of the lid on a piece of paper, cut it out, and they wrote their names down.
Word of Caution About this Technique: This approach might not be the best for all kids personalities. Know your kids well and be willing to adapt if it isn’t helpful or is creating more problems.
Highly competitive kids might not respond appropriately. Use it as a teaching moment. Don’t let it get in the way of relationship.
This is best for kids who have an equal-ish number of things to work on in their behavior. If you have a rule follower and one who constantly tests boundaries, this probably wouldn’t be a fair or good fit. You DO NOT want to set up one of your children as the “good” child and one as the “bad” child.
With all parenting techniques, it takes discernment to know your children well and determine what works for your family.
As suggested earlier, I find the most success by trying and mixing up different strategies to keep kids excited and engaged.
So, it’s only been a week, but how is this going?
I will have to try this with a twist. I am reading Alice’s adventures in wonderland to the girls. But separate bed times make that difficult so the twist. Bedtime will now be 4 songs and story will be before we go upstairs. Something we also did recently was to put the toothbrush routine items for the girls downstairs in the bathroom. So they don’t get hyper when they get upstairs. They also get water and empty the bladders downstairs. Walking to the bedroom is calm and quiet. And the light never turns on so it doesn’t distract from sleep.
Such great ideas!! Thanks for sharing. We also have been doing story time as a group downstairs. We read the Jesus Storybook Bible all together. If the kids are cooperative, they get an extra book in their room as well. I like that you just keep the lights off and keep everything calm and quiet though. We might need to try that.