Practical Dad

Kids and Bedtimes

There are many good parts to a day with kids, the truth is that I find bedtime to be the best part of all.  Spend more time with kids and they'll wear you down; they also are crankier in the late afternoon and early evening as their energy levels diminish.  So by their bedtime, they're done and I'm done as well.

But kids thrive on routine and a key daily routine is the bedtime routine.  You decide what works for you - in our house, it's a round of reading before getting them into bed and a nighttime prayer.  Then the parent who didn't participate in the routine comes for a quick goodnight kiss and hug.  With all of the bases covered, the child can finally close her eyes and go to sleep.

But what happens when you vary from the routine?  If a parent is out for the evening, the child can say goodnight before Mom or Dad departs.  And if that parent is away on business, a quick goodnight phone call can work.  But you have to be prepared to find a way to stick to the routine.  The result of messing it up is the greater likelihood of a crankier child in the morning.  And that puts a whole new spin on what you've got planned for the next day as you have to manage a cranky, sleep-deprived child. 

If you don't find a way to work through it, then you're liable to encounter what happened again tonight.  In our case, it was late night for Eldest's play and we didn't arrive home until a full 90 minutes past Youngest's bedtime.  We got him upstairs to his bed and then the routine fell apart.  Neither of us made it in for the routine - at least the prayer and goodnights - and realized a full half-hour later that he was upstairs waiting for us. 

Any tomorrow is never set in stone.  But we've managed to make this particular tomorrow a greater likelihood and you can be sure that I won't be deviating from the bedtime routine tomorrow night.

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