5 Tips to a Calmer Bedtime

Bedtime, ah, sweet bedtime! That precious time when our little ones quickly hop into bed and lay down with a smile on their face.  A kiss on the forehead. Lights out. Then, do you hear that? Quiet!

Excuse me, but that does not happen at our house! That’s a fairytale that might as well have unicorns and pink elephants.

Getting our rambunctious boys to settle down for the night is a huge undertaking! Depending on Stinkpot’s mood, his bedtime can rip every last ounce of life out me at the end of a long day. (My bedtime usually comes about 5 minutes after the boys’, and quite honestly, sometimes before…oops!)

Here are some things that we do to help our preschool boys wind down for bedtime.

1. Take a Warm Bath

This is an integral part of our nighttime routine that helps our boys transition from active play to bedtime. I wash their hair with Johnson’s Baby Shampoo with Lavender. Lavender – with all its calming aromatherapy effects – maybe for some – but probably not much for my preschool boys. 🙂

2. Give a Back Rub 

Getting in bed and stopping activity involves a back rub. My sensory-seeking preschooler, Stinkpot, LOVES a back massage!  It’s encouraging to hear Stinkpot say: “Ahhh, that feels SO GOOOOOOODDDD”

3. Sing Songs or Play Soft Music

Singing songs can have a calming effect on our boys. I’ve made the mistake in singing songs with motions: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “I’m in the Lord’s Army” are NOT songs to sing at bedtime.  We sing songs like “Rock-a-Bye, Baby” and “Jesus Loves Me” while lying in bed. One of my favorites is Laurie Burkner’s Goodnight. I add other animals to the song and let them sing the animal sound. Fun!!!

Also, just turning out the lights and playing songs on my iPhone, can make my boys STOP.  We love to listen to Jewel’s Lullaby. Her angelic voice is so incredibly beautiful. Another favorite is Renee & Jeremy’s It’s a Big World.

4. Engage in Meaningful Conversation

Just sitting and talking at the end of the day can have a calming effect on my boys. Sometimes we review everything that happened that day (and sometimes the poor choices that were made, along with other options).

But sometimes having a talk needs to be more light-hearted and like a game.

We engage in conversation with a storytelling component to encourage critical thinking. We explore Stinkpot’s interests in where he wants to travel and what he wants out of life.

Our favorite is “I’ll tell you a story about when I was little.

Stinkpot anxiously anticipates hearing tales of me with my little black dog, Pepper, that would walk me to and from school every day.  “I LOVE Pepper” is a phrase I hear often.  We are creating an incredible connection through storytelling of my childhood.

Using storytelling as part of your bedtime routine with new foster children, would help create a safe sharing environment for them. Giving them an opportunity to open up and engage in conversation.

5. Read with Your Children

Especially now that Stinkpot is in Kindergarten, reading has to become an integral part of our bedtime routine. But getting my hyperactive preschooler to settle down and STOP can be a real challenge sometimes. Again, I have to make reading a game.

Thanks to Christopher!

Christopher is part of Hallmark’s Interactive Story Buddy line. Christopher is a bear that can’t sleep. During the story when I read “Christopher was feeling really sleepy”, Christopher, in his childlike voice responds with “Yawn! But I’m not sleepy.”  There are other key phrases in the story, and Christopher’s response isn’t always the same, which makes it more interesting for my boys.

The boys love Christopher and argue over who gets to hold him. Enter Hallmark’s brand new Scooby-Doo Interactive Story Buddy!

Our Lil Bit just LOVES Scooby-Doo (pronounced “Toomy-Doo)! I’m excited that I already know what Santa is bringing Lil Bit this year!

There are other Interactive Story Buddies, such as Nugget, Cooper, Watson, and Bigsby. Also, there’s Abigail, the acrobatic bunny, that little girls will adore! Story Buddies (and additional StoryBooks) are only available in your local Hallmark store.

Disclaimer: Hallmark provided me with Christopher and Scooby-Doo for review. There are also links to Amazon music that I get a couple pennies commission from Amazon if you buy from the link.