For, several years ago, we developed our 5 T's for Bedtime...
They served us well until the children stopped liking music and audio books at night and started wanting to chat longer and longer before actually sleeping.
So, it was time for a change.
Tweaking Our Bedtime Routine with Input from the Kids
Tonight I mentioned to the children that we don't seem to do our 5 T's for Bedtime consistently anymore. I, then, asked them what they thought we should do before going to bed. What kinds of things do we need to keep our bodies, brains and souls happy?
The children quickly came up with a list of six things:
- be quiet
That was a better start to the tweaking process than I had I expected. So, I continued on to ask the children if they thought we should do these things in any particular order. They surprised me by almost immediately agreeing amongst themselves on an order:
- Brush teeth.
- Go potty.
- Change into jammies.
- Read together.
- Pray together.
- Be quiet in bed.
Wow! We were on a roll!
Keeping the momentum going, I asked what the children thought would be a good time to shoot for actually being in bed and was admittedly shocked when my oldest, the boy who has always been my most challenging bedtime child, did not bat an eyelash before declaring, "8:30".
Just to be sure my boy understood what that meant, I took the children through a quick verbal exercise of working backward with our list:
If you want to be in bed by 8:30, let's see... How long do the Rosary and prayers usually take us? (a half hour) And reading together? (15 minutes to a half hour) And changing? (five minutes) Potty? (a few minutes) Brushing teeth? (at least two minutes.) So, when would we need to start getting ready for bed? (7:00/7:30)
At that point, my oldest smirked and suggested that 7:00/7:30 might be a little early. Perhaps we could start bedtime a little later, he suggested, and, if he was feeling tired, he could skip praying the Rosary with us... Oh, that boy!
I was not sure how I felt about his suggestion, but his younger siblings were sure of what they thought about it. To them, it was a sensible idea: I could read, offer the children their bedtime blessings, say bedtime prayers together and, then, pray the Rosary with whomever wanted to pray with me.
Since I want the children to be invested in their new routine, I did not argue. Instead, I reiterated their six suggested points and commented that it didn't seem like we had "5 T's" anymore.
Quickly, my daughter decided that we should call our newly tweaked routine our "Six Before Bed", like our "Five Before Breakfast".
I took her suggestion, typed the new routine up and got started in it tonight. Here is our Six Before Bed which you can download and print, too, if you wish.
Wish us luck.