Fixing Bedtime

Isn’t bedtime with kids awesome?  Frequently not, which is kind of sad considering it’s a fleeting chance to see our amazing creations through the final moments of their day.  Did I just write that?  Crap, I did.  While I probably need to adjust my attitude on the topic a tad, perhaps there are a few simple ways that I can fix the process that is bedtime?  And it is a process.




What I Get – How come my kids wander around, chewing their toothbrush?  Isn’t this act supposed to take place in front of a sink with a mirror, and isn’t the toothbrush supposed to move back and forth?  It probably doesn’t require THAT much toothpaste either, but whatever.  And who decided that two minutes is the right amount of time for brushing?  Dentists are such sociopaths.

What I’m Suggesting – How about 30 seconds of top notch power cleaning?  To be clear, the arm holding the toothbrush has to move back and forth, back and forth.  Feet stay still.  We can do this.


What I Get –  How many books is enough?  Most parents who I speak with take time to read at bedtime, but most also tell me they get pummeled by endless requests for “just one more” book or chapter.  Some nights I feel like I’ve gone through half of our public library before we shut it down, and even then they’re asking for “just one more”.  At least I know how Lynyrd Skynyrd must feel when he they’re attempting to wrap a concert.  Freeeeeeebird!!!

What I’m Suggesting – Struggling with one great answer on this one.  How about gaining agreement on what will be read before the session begins, then offering to read one more book/chapter, and then no complaining?  Or, we could agree to 15 minutes (or 3, your choice).  More ideas?  How about setting an actual bed time, and reading until that time, with no reading if bedtime happens later than usual?  Last idea, tell them that their books are broken today, but that they will be fixed tomorrow.  Proceed to go watch that new episode of Game of Thrones.

Last idea, tell them that their books are broken today, but that they will be fixed tomorrow.  Proceed to go watch that new episode of Game of Thrones.


What I Get – Let’s agree that moms are better snugglers than dads.  If I’ve offended you with this sweeping stereotype, please find a hobby.  Another fact is that snuggling in kid beds isn’t that comfortable.  Body parts quickly fall asleep as our aging bodies struggle to find a comfortable position.  In other words, as a dad I’m neither physiologically nor physically predisposed to satiating the unquenchable desire for marathon snuggle sessions.  Plus, they seem addicted to kicking me in the balls.

What I’m Suggesting – Let’s put on some music and I’ll stay for one song.  Think of it as a snuggle timer.  Both sides are winners; my kid will get more than I normally give, and I’ll get out of there before I get injured.  As a bonus, I can pick music that I want them to know.  Consider it the final part of the home schooling portion of their day.  Isn’t Yanni soothing?


What I Get – None of them seem to be able to stay in bed on the first try.  The pitter patter of their tiny feet sounds like nails on a chalk board after the seventh time around the perimeter of the upstairs.  And what’s up with the slamming doors…when they open them?  How does that even work?  And yes, I get that they are hungry and thirsty, but at some point they have to be full.  They’re not that big!

What I’m Suggesting – Sometimes it is hard to fall asleep.  I get that.  Outside of those rare occasions, one piece of bread, one drink, one trip to the toilet.  Any aberrations beyond that, I’m calling Santa.  Said differently, let’s pretend their bedroom is a dungeon and Santa is the dungeon master.


If you only read one thing in this entry, here is my proposal on how to fix bedtime…

  • 30 seconds of power brushing
  • Predefined reading targets/timing
  • Snuggle for one Yanni song (wearing a cup if you are a dad)
  • One water/bread/potty then call Santa

What do you think?  Is the above a recipe for slightly less angry parents and better rested kids?  Can it make bedtime that special experience it should be?