I actually have to be honest that it is actually Sesame Street and my husband that manged to get our bedtime routine to what it is today – which is kids in bed by 19h00!
With four kids all of varying ages, bed time was a bit tricky to manage, especially as the younger ones got older. Cameron doesn’t really want to go to bed at 19h00 and the babies can’t stay up until 20h00.
There were a few months where we kind of just did whatever felt right in the moment and sometimes the smaller two were in bed early but other times not. When Jacks teacher mentioned he was complaining he was tired we realised we had to get a little bit of routine back.
Around the same time they started watching Sesame Street which has an episode on bedtime routine. At the time we only had 3 episodes so they watched this specific one A LOT! We had been trying unsuccessfully to get the babies to bed early but then David decided to try copy Sesame Street and kept referencing it for the kids and it literally worked in one night.
So what do we do? (Apart from brainwashing them with a weird oddly coloured puppet).
Step 1. There has to be a set time. For us it is generally between 18h30 and 19h00 depending on the day.
Step 2. Create a routine (I can send you the Sesame Street episode). Emma was very responsive to this, on the nights David isn’t here, she tells me “We must brush teeth, then wee, when story!” and she does it all on her own.
Step 3. Be firm and consistent. Obviously my children don’t just hop into bed, close their eyes and fall asleep. There are some nights they negotiate, need to wee about a hundred times but you have to firm and consistent. Emma initially started walking downstairs, I think in the hope that we wouldn’t want to keep taking her upstairs so would let her stay downstairs but when she realised we actually would keep taking her back she stopped that.
Having my kids up until all hours of the day is not an option for me. I work from home, I am around the kids a lot and don’t really have a chance to switch off, so I need them to be in bed early so I can also have some down time. So having the little ones in bed by 19h00 really was a necessity and not a luxury.
It does take a little bit of effort and Jack still tells us he is old enough to stay up but the peace and calm and ability to watch something that isn’t animated is so worth it.
How does bedtime work in your house?