I am terribly sorry my Dinner at Eight post is so late! Rebekah and I planned on posting on Thursday night, but the internet coverage in my neighborhood went completely down that evening. It was actually down for more than 24 hours, which was super challenging for this internet dependent family! No email, no blogging, no facebook, no Netflix. A little break was actually a good thing, but once we had coverage again, I got really busy over the weekend with an engagement shoot + church + book club and completely forgot to post! So here is my post, a little late...
|banner image Irene Suchocki|
5 TIPS FOR GETTING THE KIDS TO BED EARLY
This week Rebekah + I decided to share a few of our favorite tips for getting our little ones to bed early on date night. While every family has their own routines, there are definitely some things you can do on date night to improve your chances of having a quiet evening at home with no interruptions! Here are five things I have found to help Audrey + Elliot go to sleep earlier:
1. Be prepared to be interrupted by your little ones. If you are a typical mom in a typical family, you will be interrupted during your date night preparations by your little ones. You just will be! So rather than allow the interruptions to frustrate me and stress me out when they arise, I try to plan for them and embrace them. I try not to procrastinate with my date night preparations, spreading my to-do list over a couple of days rather than the afternoon of. That way when I am interrupted, I don't feel as frantic and overwhelmed and am able to put my projects aside and spend some time with my kids. I have found that when I do not plan ahead like this, there is a good chance that my kids will go to bed later because I am distracted with my to-do list up until the very last minute, and by the time bedtime rolls around they are desperate for my attention.
2. Play outside. Get your kids outside! This is practically a no-fail way to get your little ones tired enough to go to sleep early. It seems like the more fresh air they get and the more they run around, the more worn out my kids are come evening time. Plus being outside just makes them super happy.
3. No naps! Now I know this won't work for all families, but in ours it does wonders. Audrey hardly ever takes naps anymore, but Elliot usually still needs at least a couple a week. The beautiful thing is on the days that he doesn't take a nap, Elliot is in bed asleep no later than 7:00pm. So the days that I have a date scheduled with Erik, I do everything in my power to prevent Elliot from falling asleep during the day! This also goes back to the being prepared thing, because if I procrastinate and have any errands to do, he most likely will fall asleep in the car.
4. Enlist your kids' help. My little ones love to help, especially when it comes to doing things in the kitchen. On date nights, I almost always save at least one part of the meal or dessert for them to help me make. Audrey also loves setting + decorating the table, so lately I have had her help more in that area as well. It seems like on days when I really make an effort to include them in my date preparations, they are less likely to feel left out when it is time for them to go to bed. I also love that my children are witnessing me make their daddy a priority. They are learning even now how much Erik and I cherish and love our time together and our marriage.
5. Plan something special for your little ones. On the days that I have a date with Erik scheduled in the evening, I try to also plan a little something special for the kids. Sometimes it is a special outing, like an afternoon at the park or a trip to our favorite frozen yogurt shop. Or sometimes it is just something simple at home, like baking a treat together or spending an hour cuddling on the couch reading books. I have found that when I take the time to invest in my kids during the day, it really helps them be more cooperative when it comes to bedtime. I also make sure that they both have picked out a little something do to with daddy before bed, like a story to read or a quick game, so that they are able to have some quality time with him as well.
How about you? What are some of your favorite ways to get your little ones to bed early? Please share! And don't forget to check out Rebekah's tips!