Routine! Routine! Schedule…

September 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

I don’t normally write about parenting young children because I feel that the market is already saturated  with experts on early childhood rearing. However, this summer I had a several opportunities to observe not only my family but also other families who are raising young children and I had some thoughts.

I’m a free spirit and enjoyed being out most of the day when my kids were little. But they taught me that they needed structure like regular mealtimes, naps and bedtimes. 

When my daughter was young, I worked jobs that required me to be out of the house for long periods of time. When she was first born, we had a nanny and when the nanny was off, I had a hard time getting my daughter to go to sleep whether it was nap time or bed time. Our nanny relationship lasted for a year and I found that I had the responsibility for getting my daughter to sleep at night as well as on the weekends. It took some creativity and a lot of times of putting her back to bed before we were able to get her to sleep at night without getting up every few minutes.

For those of you who are sleep deprived and completely exhausted, here’s what I did. I went back to how I was raised with a few modifications. 

My parents had routines for us as children and as teens. The routines were consistent and impartial.  There were times to do homework, time to eat dinner, time to complete household chores, and time to go to bed. We seldom strayed from those routines even when I attended high school.

Understandably, young children can’t set their routines like when & what to eat, as well as when to sleep. And, depending on your parenting style, establishing any routine can be challenging to put in place. If you’ve allowed your son or daughter to sleep with you OR you sleep with them, setting a bedtime and having them sleep in their own bed is pretty traumatic for both of you. Start now and stick to it. Make it fun by making a game out of it. Children love games! Have dinner at a specific time everyday. The dinner doesn’t have to be formal or fancy, your goal is to start a routine of eating together. During dinner ask what book they want you to read (to them) at bedtime. As it gets close to bedtime, ask them about their favorite part of the day and share yours. Make sure they aren’t hungry. Give them a bath. Have them brush their teeth. One final trip to the bathroom. Say prayers. Read a short book. Give them a hug & kiss. Say goodnight

Here are 3 suggestions for establishing a bedtime routine for your 2 or 3 year old:

1. Have them pick up their toys before nap or bedtime by making it a game.

2. Tell them what you’re going to do before you do it AND what you want them to do.

3. When it is time for bed, let them know that you expect them to go to bed and to sleep. They may continue to ask for water, another story or for you to sleep with them. Kindly and firmly say goodnight.

Interested in learning more about your family’s dynamics? Contact me – Ms. Parent Guru to receive information about my inspiring parenting programs for aging parents, Mothers and Daughters or Mothers and their Sons.
Click Here to join my parenting community.

C. Lynn Williams, #MsParentguru
Family Dynamics Strategist, Coach & Author

Entry filed under: #MsParentguru, childrearing, family, fathers, Young children, toddlers, routines, schedules, bedtime.

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