Last night I was reading our sister sites. My kids were running around like maniacs (Dad was in charge of the bedtime routine last night and I was trying to finish up some work…). So it’s not a surprise that I got sucked in to Kimberly’s article on 5 Minutes for Special Needs on bedtime routines. Even after 14+ years of motherhood I still have a few things to learn.
We figured out a long time ago that the child works best with routines, but with an occasional change of pace. I am also noticing that her apparently neuro-typical siblings can take advantage of routine to create chaos. Recently this has all appeared in the form of marathon bedtime routines that leave me ready to pull my hair out. For the past three years our bedtime routine has not really changed:
Try the potty, put on jammies, eat dessert, brush teeth, read stories, go to bed…
…in that order, directed with simple phrases. We had it down to a system. Initially it really took two adults to oversee this with three children, two toddlers and one with developmental delays. On those rare evenings when we went out we often asked two people to come babysit. It just didn’t seem fair to ask one person to do it all. We didn’t even handle it solo ourselves very often. After a while things got easier. Thanks to our life-saving behavior management class and the maturing of the twins everyone went through a pretty compliant stage, and what a relief it was. Well, now it is primarily the twins who are the little troublemakers, but their antics make it hard for the child to stay on task, too. She pretty much falls in with the behavior of those around her, so if the twins are being silly, she will be, too. Handling bedtime solo has become challenging again, but it is happening more often, and I am learning a lot in the process.
The other day I decided to try something to make things a little more fun for everyone….