Our Bedtime Routine

Today I thought I'd share our bedtime routine with the kids.  I feel like our bedtime routine continues to evolve as the kids get older, but it is fun to look back and see what we always did before tucking the kids in for the night.

When it's just me by myself, it takes some strategy and juggling to get three kids under four years old to bed on time!  I always shoot to get the kids in bed by 7:00 PM.  When Derek is home we like to have a little time together in the evenings, and we usually go to sleep ourselves between 9:00 and 10:00 PM.  I guess we're early-to-bed kind of people.  If Derek is traveling, the evening is still my best time to get things done around the house, so an early bedtime works well for us.

For simplicity's sake, I'll share what I do when it's just me, but when Derek is home this whole process is a lot faster and easier!

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If it's not a bath night, around 6:00 or 6:15 I start getting them ready for bed.  I have to start early, because it seems like there is always some extra mess to clean!  I have them help me put their toys away, and then I get Wyatt and Gwen in their pajamas.  Wyatt is becoming so helpful, and he'll get me a diaper for Gwen and pick out his own pajamas.  He can partially dress himself, but for the most part he still prefers me to help him, and I don't really mind.  Clyde is usually playing on the floor during all this.

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After I get the kids dressed I take Wyatt and Gwen to the bathroom and brush their teeth. I let them brush their own teeth, but they obviously don't do a good job by themselves, so I take a turn as well.  Gwen is really into brushing her teeth right now.  She actually cried the other night because I almost forgot to brush her teeth!  She always wants water on her toothbrush too.  I think it's so funny.

Wyatt uses the bathroom, and then I get Clyde and we all pile onto Wyatt's bed to read a Bible story.  The kids are so cute about Bible story time - they love reading a book together, and I hope it's something we always do as part of our bedtime routine.  I usually read them a story from one of their Bible storybooks, and I like to read a devotion for them too when we have a good one.

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The devotion book we are using right now is "Devotions For Beginning Readers" by Crystal Bowman.  I love this devotional for this age group!  My kids aren't reading by themselves yet, but the devotions are really simple and perfect for preschoolers.  Since the language and word choices are geared for young readers, they are also easy for younger kids to understand.  The illustrations are really colorful and cute, which is very important for the kids right now.  If a book doesn't have pretty pictures, they aren't interested, so I like the illustrations that are included on each page. This is a devotion that can really grow with the kids during these early years - it is easy for Wyatt and Gwen to pay attention and understand now, and it will be a great book for them to practice their reading skills when we get to that point too!  We haven't finished reading it yet, so I can't vouch for every devotion in there, but so far we love it.

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After our Bible story and devotion, we pray together.  The kids know to close their eyes and fold their hands, and Gwen's praying face is so cute right now (yes, I peek at them sometimes).  She scrunches her eyes shut so tight and tilts her chin up, with a big grin on her face the entire time we are praying.  It cracks me up!

Wyatt is really getting good at praying by himself, and I love hearing him list people he is thankful for.  I close our prayers with thanking Jesus for dying on the cross for us, and when Wyatt prays he does the same thing - I love hearing the gospel in his sweet little voice.

Then we sing a song!  It is almost always "Jesus Loves Me", and both Wyatt and Gwen sing along with us.  We are off key and off tempo, but it's probably my favorite part of our routine.  I love listening to the kids trying to sing the words!  It won't be too long before Clyde can add his attempts to the mix.

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I make sure the kids both have water.  I lay Gwen down in her crib, with her blanket bunched up into a ball on top of her (she does not like it spread out).  I tuck Wyatt under his covers.  Then I tell them goodnight and I love you, and "think about Jesus", and they usually repeat all three phrases back to me.

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Clyde's routine is the most simple right now.  After the older two are in bed, I feed Clyde his bottle - this is our one-on-one time during the day, when the older two are in bed.  He usually looks up at me while he is eating, and he likes to play with my shirt or hair.  Sometimes he will fall asleep in my arms - if not, I lay him down when his stomach is full.  Occasionally I need to snuggle him or walk him around a little before he will relax enough for me to lay him down in his crib.

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As I'm thinking through our routine, I realize how much I really do for the kids right now - they still need my help with so many things.  I dress them, I get them food and refill water cups, I brush their teeth, I help them find their blankets.  It might sometimes seem like a lot, especially when I have had a long day, but every night I try to enjoy it.

I looked through my baby box once, and found some old letters my mom wrote to me when I was a toddler.  One thing that stood out was a letter where she was sad because I had started dressing myself - and she was trying to enjoy the little things that I still needed her to do for me.

I can already see this happening with Wyatt - he is doing so much more by himself.  One day he won't need me to help him get his shirt on or brush his teeth anymore.  Even though doing all these things for our young kids is work, it is such a brief period.

They will never need us like this again.

Oh, they'll always need their mom, but not in the same way that they do right now.  I want to enjoy this time when my kids still need my help - because someday they won't.  And I might think back and miss being needed so much.

Note: I received "Devotions For Beginning Readers" from Tommy Nelson in exchange for a review.  The opinions expressed above are my honest opinions.
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HIS daughter said...

LOVE this! I need to grab that devotional book :) Thanks for the great ideas :) I have always struggled with what to do with a bedtime routine :)

Melanie said...

This is so true! I watch Makayla learn how to do so many new things all the time that someday she won't need my help at all. It's sad but also exciting too..sad they won't rely on us so much but exciting to see them grow!

Lauren said...

so precious! I also love our bedtime routine...its' a family affair right now and I couldn't love it more! Definitely checking out that devotional book, it looks fabulous!

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