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

February 02, 2021

Bedtime can be a challenging part of the day for any parent. There can be immense pressure to get the kids in bed at a certain time and even more pressure for parents to have some adult time.

What if everyone could get what they wanted?

Having a relaxed bedtime can be beneficial for children as well as 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 I choose not to worry about exactly what time they are going to be asleep and when I notice their creative juices flowing at what used to be their 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 at the end of the day are some of the best we’ve had. It feels so nice to be relaxing with them as they are winding down for sleep-time rather than 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 a specific bedtime, so maybe start with one night a week, where you'll all be more relaxed.
    • Be there with them - make sure to be a part of your kids’ new awake time as they relax, this is the time you'll all cherish and think back on.
    • 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.

As much as winter makes me want to hunker down at night and snuggle in bed early, the days are getting longer and with more sunlight, we can eat dinner on the patio and gaze at the stars until we're tired. Kids feel this too and a relaxed bedtime is a great way to let them explore the change in days getting longer and the nights shorter.