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!
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