As I write this, Max is sat playing with his toy kitchen at past 9pm. Having woken at 6am and played non stop with friends and family you would think he was exhausted but he never seems to give in, no matter what we've tried.
"But kids need lots of sleep!" Of course they do and you don't think that I worry. Thankfully when he's ridiculously tired he will cart himself off to bed or for a nap.
Here are a few things that are helping us with getting him into the bedtime mood though:
- No technology after dinner. We found that letting him watch tv or something really over stimulated him and almost sent him off into a trance. Instead we sit him down in his room, put a couple of lamps on and play with puzzles or his kitchen.
- Bath time. Sometimes he doesn't have a bath in the evening. If it's been a lazy day or he's jumped in our shower it isn't worth it. We normally add a drop of lavender oil so it can calm and soothe him.
- Book, books book! We can read up to 5/6/10 books before bed. We do normally stick to 3 and pick a variety. Ones that will calm him down, ones that are funny and ones that he can get involved in.
- Have a reward chart up. It's not one we have stickers to put on but it's one that acts as more of a checklist. It gives him those bits of independence knowing that he can say "I need to brush my teeth now". Giving him the guidance rather than the restrictions.
- Leave him to it. As long as he's in his room and playing quietly, we normally leave him to play with his toys. In all honesty he's like us adults. He will go to bed when he's tired. You can't force him.
This won't work for everyone. As you know, our bed times are by no means perfect. He's just dropping off now, 30 minutes after I started writing it. But it will get there and don't feel bad if your kids don't have the perfect bedtime routine. Let's face it, neither do we.