"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Friday, April 3, 2009

FHE: Bedtime Routine

We're having a struggle with bedtime. It seems to take the kids forever to get ready. Then once they're in bed, they keep getting out again because they forgot to kiss Baby goodnight or they need yet another drink of water. And nothing ruins the mood for family prayer when you have to haul a kicking a screaming child back down so we can pray together. Yeah, not exactly conducive to a reverent environment. It was something we needed to work on and needed to do it now.

Opening Song: Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

Opening Prayer: Boo

Lesson: In preparation for this, I surfed the web for some ideas and found a few. One showed a flipbook made for preschool-aged kids using pictures cut from magazines to illustrate each step in the bedtime process. I wrote out a list of the different bedtime activities. It took some time but eventually I found pictures for each step. These were glued onto colored construction paper with a description written in marker. Easy enough for the Boy to understand and for da Boo to read. (The photo is from the article and taken by Kelly Pfeiffer.)

I started by asking the kids to name some of the things we did when I told them it was time to get in jammies. They did pretty good naming them, even getting some of the harder ones.

Next came the stern discussion, where I told them that bedtime isn't going well, that they aren't listening to us, and most nights someone ends up crying (like me). I told them it didn't have to be like that. Instead, they should be all ready so I could read them a story - which they love but is frequently withheld as they drag out getting in pajamas.

I showed them the flipbook. We went through each step, talking about what we should do and what we should not do.
1. Eat a bedtime treat.
2. Get your pajamas on!
3. Put away your shoes and clothes.
4. Use the potty.
5. Brush your teeth.
6. Read a story.
7. Family prayer.
8. Hugs! Kisses!
9. Get a drink of water.
10. Put your glasses in their case.
11. Get in bed!

Seems basic. You'd be surprised at how long they manage to drag this out. Unless, of course, you have younger kids and then you know exactly the sort of ridiculousness that takes place in lieu of listening to parents. And #6 is the reward because all the hard stuff takes place before it. If they get ready in a reasonable amount of time, they each get to choose a story. If one is misbehaving, the other gets to choose one story. However, if they are co-conspirators, then we skip to #7.

We started this process Monday night. So far, they've had a grand total of four stories read. I'm going to start some sort of reward process for getting finished, which I know will inspire da Boo to great things but of which the Boy could not care less.

Closing Song: When the Family Gets Together

Closing Prayer: Daddy.

Treat: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. (And there's still some left in the freezer...but it will probably be gone shortly after I've published this post.)

** Sorry for the delayed April Fool's pictures...my camera battery died before I could upload all the ways I tortured the kids. Hopefully, I'll get those up soon!


Kristina P. said...

I love the little flipbook idea!

Teresa Jane said...

Hi. You have such a cute blog!

Visiting you from SITS! Hope you had a great Friday!

Amanda said...

I have seen someone who used cards with pictures on them and had them laminated....they represented each step.... They they were on hooks with the numbers on the back. Then as they completed them they got to turn them over to the number. YOu could do this in mnay ways. Have a set for each kid and basically they would race each other to get done. Have the story at the very end. Just some ideas if your plan doesn't work:) I am in no way an expert on this. but haven't had any big problems with P on this. he knows the few steps we do and he usually gets his shower on his own while I nurse Liam. He then gets out and dresses on his own. If I am not out at that point--he gets to play his Nintendo DS till I get out. If I beat him out of the shower then no DS. Then we brush teeth and climb in my bed for a few chapters in his book. Then I go to his room have prayers with him and tuck him in. Steve is not home usually so it's just me...and this works for us...of course you do have one more kid than I do and that can make all the difference!
(one other suggestion is narrow it down to less steps.)

Amanda said...

I just re-read your thing and saw you did a flip book--duh--I read things too fast these days! Maybe do a book for each so they can compete at their own pace?

Nat said...

That is a great idea. Bedtime isn't so fun for us, either. I might try your idea.

Kristie said...

Sounds like another successful FHE! I hope that your new system works well and that it speeds up the bedtime routine! :)

Jessica said...

Glad to hear I am not the only one who TOTALLY DREADS bedtime each day! :)

Jan the crazy lady said...

You are always a bundle of ideas. This is way clever Jessica. You give your kids such structure.

Jo said...

Great idea! It sounds like it working more than it is not, so good parenting points to you and your hubs.

Bobie said...

I have such a hard time with FHE because I have younger and older ones. 5 - 21. I love this one though, the older ones might have to just sit and bite their tongues during this one!! Thanks for sharing

Fiauna said...

Bed time is my favorite time. But I am blessed with kids who like bedtime almost as much as I do. I hope your little one gets on board soon. The flip book is a great idea!

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