SO YOU’RE OFF (or almost off) to another school year! Let’s help make this one our kids’ best yet! This week I’m doing a series with back-to-school tips, tricks, and insights.
But let’s not get the cart before the horse: If you want to have a successful school day, you’ve got to start the night before.
Foremost in this preparation is a good night’s sleep. People ask me All.The.Time. how we get our kids to bed so early, and I ask them how they don’t! Ha! They need their rest, and I need mine. 😉 The simplest answer is this: we get all nike and Just Do It. It’s not a battle; it’s just what we do, part of our normal routine.
There’s nothing special about our ability to get them in bed early, but here’s a run-down of a typical evening:
We start our dinner routine around five most evenings, and we sit down as a family (mom, dad, 3 kids) together between 5:00-5:30 (sometimes stars have to align: hubs not working late, no kids’ sports practices, etc.). The boys (8 & just turned 5) take turns setting the table (one puts napkins & silverware at each place, the other fixes ice waters).
Immediately after dinner–usually between 5:30-6:15, we move on to bath time. Big gets Sissy’s diaper & jammies from her dresser, and Li’l gets his & Big’s undies from their rooms. I usually bathe Li’l Bro & Sissy together while Big Bro brushes his teeth. Then Big takes a bath while Li’l dries himself off, puts on his underwear, & brushes his teeth; and I get Sis dried, jammied, and teeth-brushed. Next I blow dry everyone’s hair if needed (especially on cool nights).
Li’l retrieves his & Big Bro’s water cups from bedside tables, which big Bro then refills and puts back on bedside tables. The boys tidy up their rooms (and any toys of theirs left in the living room) and turn on night lights & noise machines while I put Sissy to bed.
Then my husband takes time individually putting each of the boys to bed–first li’l Bro, then Big Bro, reading them books & the Bible, talking about their days & anything else they want, praying with and over them. It’s a special Daddy-son time. So the kids are generally all tucked in for the night by 7:30, often earlier.
Of course, the flip side of the early bed time, is an early get-up time… 6:30 is when the rooster crows at our house, like clockwork. But frankly, that is just fine with me for two reasons:
1. I get my day going. I’m tired right when I wake up whether it’s 5:00a.m. or 8:30a.m. Might as well get the day going sooner than later and not waste it, right?! I get a few minutes to wake up (and make a pot of coffee) before I have to start getting the kids ready to walk out the door.
2. We are not rushed. The boys have a nice leisurely 30 minutes of wake up time before we start with our getting-ready routine at 7:00. It’s SO nice not to feel rushed, and it’s definitely a marked contrast to the mornings I have to wake up Big Bro at 7:00 (usually following a late night of practice, special event, etc.). And we do not end our before-school time with me bellowing out harried orders drill-sergeant style to get everyone out the door on time (Go! Go! Go!).
[On a side note: another definite bonus of our kids’ early bedtimes is that my husband and I actually have time to interact, visit, and decompress together before we’re complete zombies. It’s pretty fantastic for our marriage, and that’s good for our kids, too.]
So, anyone else out there put your kids to bed early… or want to start? It’s a brand new school year! You can do eeeet!
Still with me? Yay! Read on for more of how to help your kids have their best school year ever! Wheeeeee!
And you might like these other posts on motherhood…