The Family Bedtime Routine

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  • October 03, 2016

Brook Packard is a mom, musician, educator, storyteller and…after years of struggle, a really good sleeper. Brook started Sleepytime Club to give families a simple 20-30 minute bedtime routine that builds meaningful memories and makes tuck-in time delightful rather than one more thing on the “to-do” list. She blogs at Huffington Post about parenting and bedtime.

Do you ever have one of “those days”? A day when you wonder if all the work of being a parent is worth it?

the-family-bedtime-routineYou know what it’s like. There are those moments when your child transforms into a screaming beast because you gave them exactly what they wanted. Or how about those nights when bedtime’s such drama you wonder if you’ve stepped into sleep Purgatory and think you will never, ever have a peaceful evening for yourself again.

Bedtime is important. It’s one time of day that shouldn’t be skimped on and can’t be multi-tasked. It’s a time to reconnect with your children and help them transition to sleep.  Ironically, tuck-in time occurs at the end of a long day – just when moms and dads are yearning for a little time to recoup. 

I remember during my daughter’s baby days, all the moms were abuzz about sleep. Then when toddlerhood hit, the sleep discussion became taboo. We were supposed have this down, right?  It turned into parenting’s “dirty little secret”.

Kim West teaches her sleep coaches to encourage a consistent bedtime routine to pave the way for sleep. But what does that look like?

We had the bath and brushing teeth part down. Since we read so often, I thought the reading bit would be a breeze too.

But then my daughter asked to read Goodnight Gorilla for the 45th consecutive night, while I screamed silently, envisioning myself collecting retirement and still reading Goodnight Gorilla.

The night she asked for Where the Wild Things Are I rejoiced, until she was so riled up dancing and howling, we didn’t get to sleep until past my bedtime.  Later someone gave her The Velveteen Rabbit – the book and an irresistible lovey. I thought we were going to start a new family tradition. But it felt as if I was reading War and Peace.

For me, bedtime is a parenting priority. It’s important for our relationship, our peace of mind, and our health. However, there are days when tuck-in time can be a stressor.

sleepytime-club-giveawayI knew there had to be a better way. A simpler way to connect with our children, help them make the transition to sleep, set up boundaries, and get some guilt-free alone time.

Sleep coach training taught us that after washing up, a solid bedtime routine is about 20-30 minutes of calm and soothing activities.

They also recommend three steps to a good bedtime routine: reading time, a brief massage, and singing a song. It’s the bonding connection at tuck-in time that gives children the security to transition to sleep.

hat’s why I created Sleepytime Club Bedtime Kits, because sometimes you need a place to start.

All the components for a successful bedtime routine are included in one Sleepytime Club Bedtime Kit.

Sleepytime Club is bedtime made simple. The bedtime kits are designed to give families a nurturing bedtime routine that’s super simple – a journey to sleep in story, song, and quiet, mindful activities.

Best of all, the beautifully illustrated storybook and the album of stories and music are all downloadable. You can start this new routine with your family tonight.

Here’s how Sleepytime Club works. There is an opening “cue” song and phrase to mark that the special tuck-in time ritual has begun. It’s then followed by:

  • Interactive poem with gentle touch
  • American Sign Language vocabulary – so helpful for literacy!
  • Lullaby
  • Formational Story – think of it as a story book for young children.
  • Put the Day to Bed – a mindfulness practice that allows children to leave the day behind with happy thoughts.

All this takes 20 minutes or less. Annual members of Sleepytime Club receive new content each month grounded in the same routine.

Everyone’s learning, everyone’s peaceful, and no one gets bored. Can I get an “amen!?”

Sleepytime Club sets up bedtime boundaries. The start of the routine is clearly defined. In addition, parents are guaranteed at least 20 minutes of alone time as they set up their child with the leave-behind playlist.

Look, there is no perfection in parenting. All we can do is our best. “Those days” are inevitable. So we set up our routines, and trust that “those days” will be part of the family memories tomorrow.

Sleepytime Club contributes to those memories. A special just-for-bedtime ritual teaches your child to respect the bedtime routine and promises you at least 20 minutes of guilt-free alone time afterward.

See what it’s all about at Sleepytime And while you’re there, pick up the free Bedtime Blueprint. It’s a family planner that tells you everything you need to know about how to schedule your day to promote sleep.

Because when sleep goes right, everything goes right.

Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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