Benefits of Relaxing Your Child's Bedtime, and How to Make It Joyful

March 29, 2012

Bedtime can be a challenging part of the day for parents. There is pressure for kids to get in bed on time and pressure for parents to have adult time, but what if everyone could get what they wanted?

Having a relaxed bedtime can be beneficial for parents and adults.  With no struggle or negotiations, parents have  more time to spend with their children or with each other.  Many times at night I find my kids really get into their creative groove.  When I had an imposed bedtime I would feel bad about interrupting them.  Now that I don’t worry about exactly what time they are going to be asleep, when I notice their creative juices flowing at what used I be bedtime I pick up my crocheting, read a book or watch a movie with my husband. It’s become such a joyful time for us.

When I notice my kids shifting, it is then that I start our new “bedtime” rituals.  I dim the lights, maybe put on some soothing music or offer to read one of their favorite books.  I ask if they want to snuggle in bed and they usually say yes.  Those moments of being with them are some of the best we’ve had.  It feels so nice to be relaxing with them as they are wanting sleep instead of pushing and pulling to “get them to bed”.

Tips for Transitioning to a Relaxed Bedtime

    • Start slowly. It may seem hard at first or you may be reluctant to let go of bedtime, so maybe start with one night a week.

    • Complete the cycle. Make sure to be a part of your kids’ new awake time.

    • Take a responsive approach. Notice and respond to your children’s patterns, when they seem tired or when they might need just a few more minutes doing whatever they are doing.

With the recent end to daylight savings I notice how much I enjoy staying up a little later.  Winter makes me want to hunker down at night and snuggle in bed early, but summer time makes me want to enjoy dinner on the patio at 8:00.  Kids feel this too and a relaxed bedtime is a great way to let them explore this.