Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Managing Bedtimes With Many Children

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When you have seven children, you simply cannot spend half an hour gently tucking each one in and coaxing them to sleep and hoping each one will stay nighty night.

Well, unless you want to spend three and a half hours doing it every night. In that case, uh, more power to ya, and I should say I don't want to spend that time doing it.

We stagger our bedtimes with the youngest being between the sheets by 8:30, the middles-9:00, and so on.

We don't give baths every single night, but as needed starting an hour before bedtime.

Everyone begins brushing teeth and changing into pajamas about a half hour before bedtime. When they are through, there is time for snuggling before the designated bed time.

At that time, we tell everyone to get into bed, and they hop to it.

I give kisses and tuck in covers before turning out the lights.

That's it.  Short and sweet.  

In our family, we spend plenty of read aloud time together, including the Bible, throughout the day, so I do not feel the least bit guilty not reading "bed time stories". We also pray together frequently throughout the day, so we do not have a "bedtime prayer".

This is what works for our family.

What works for you?

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Allyson Kellner said...

Yes!! We do the stagger bedtimes too (though we only have 3) and we LOVE it!

Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

I'm chuckling as I read this because we have virtually no bedtime ritual either. Half the time they meander up themselves (yes, we're night owls)...that's the beauty of home schooling though. They have been read to and prayed with all day long.

I am blessed! said...

It's hard to have a routine when we have a Bible study in our home on Tues nights and church on Wed nights, but most of the time we have family worship starting around 7:30 (I put our 1 yr old to bed if need be, but often she'll take her bottle during). By 8 pm we're done with family worship and the older kids and I will usually read together a little more or I'll let them read in their beds. I love that family worship in the evenings kind of sends them off to bed. Then I go around to the ones downstairs (only our 10 yr old son is upstairs) and give a kiss and hug. Fridays we let the 10, 8, and 6 yr olds stay up.

Monica said...

This is great! We only have three, so we still do the whole routine with stories and prayer. But when we're out until close to bedtime it's straight to bed without any guilt because we also spend lots of time together during the day because of homeschool. I really like the idea of staggering bedtimes and we've begun to do that since we're starting to let the four year olds stay up until 7:30/8, but the two year old still goes to bed close to 7/7:30.

Brenda said...

I only have 2 and that's how we do it too. Get in bed. Good night. :)

Valerie said...

Thanks for posting this! here I was believing I was the WORST mother in the world because we hardly ever do bedtime stories and prayers. I kiss each of them, and then say a sweet word to them (or sometimes scream for them to obey, but whatever)and it's done. Your right though, I do spend a lot of time during the day homeschooling them, reading to them, doing bible study, and prayer, so why feel bad? Sheesh! what a load off.

Cindy said...

Thanks for helping me not feel guilty about our lack of "tuck-in time" for each child. We have family Bible reading and prayer before bed, kiss, hug, and tuck in the littles at around 8, then the big kids by 9:00 or so. Works for me. :)

Tara said...

We've got four. The oldest is 9, the others are 6, 4 and 2. The three littles are out by 8 and the oldest is theoretically out by 8:30. Daddy is in charge of reading to them from The Jesus Storybook Bible but if he forgets, too bad! I'm done with kids by the end of the day and will read to them tomorrow anyway!

Jenny said...

that's nifty. i don't tuck my son in at all. i kiss him good night and tell him to get his little butt to bed and stay there. which he doesn't. but eh...

Lisa in Jax said...

Our bedtime ritual starts after dinner. We usually take the littles for a walk, sometimes running into neighbors. If that happens then it's a late night of lots of play, then a quick kiss-hug goodnight and done. If no one is out, then we head home, bathe them, do the bedtime chores, then my dh reads them stories. I may get lots of time with the kids but he doesn't and really enjoys spending that time with them.

Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy said...

I only have two kids but we have a similar routine. I don't feel guilty about not having bedtime stories either. I spend a chunk of my day doing read alouds with homeschool. I'm done after 5pm.

Stephanie said...

I love reading what everyone does. We get all the jams on and teeth brushed and then do some reading together...a chapter book and Prov. of the day. Or if it's a weekend night we may just be watching a movie or something but my husband will just start counting. 1...2...3 and if you're not in bed by 5... The 4 oldest kids love it. They just start running and screaming and giggling. Then I go around and tuck, kiss and pray with them. It works for us.

Christy said...

I stagger bedtimes but now that I have lots of teenagers in the mix my poor 4 yearold stays up way too late. But she shares a bed with her 15 year old sister and I think that is more important than an arbitrary time. I have never had a real routine other than "it'll be 8:30 in 10 minutes - get dressed and brush your teeth" oh, and dont forget your night prayers. Even my babies I just laid down. I think it has created independance.

rachel said...

I think as a single mom, I often hold myself to higher standards then I would have to. I guess kind of trying to make sure they don't miss out on too much by having only one parent. We read lengthily every evening but its nice to hear that I am not a slacker mom for sometimes skipping it.

notweary said...

When I only had a few childen, I read a lot in the day. We still did bedtime stories, because that is MY favourite thing to do with my children. Now I don't read much at all during the day, (as in my two youngest children get one chapter of a book after our Bible time and before we start "school" in the morning and that's usually it), so reading in the evening is even more important to me!

When my third son was quite young (he's 23 now), my husband once punished him by sending him to bed without his book time, and I asked my husband to please not do that again, as it was really punishing me!

So for us it's Mommy (and occasionally Daddy) reading them a book and then brush teeth, pyjamas and prayer.

With ten kids, the bed times were staggered in groups - this bunch went to bed at 8:00, this one at 8:30, this bunch at 9:00, etc.

Now three of them are in other countries,and the older ones at home go to bed after us!

They grow up so fast, enjoy them at whatever stage you are at!

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