Do you ever have a difficult time getting your kids to bed? Well, my husband and I did. It would be an evening of a series of orders: 1) time to take a shower, 2) put your pajamas on, 3) go brush your teeth and rinse, 4) hop into bed. Now is that so bad? Then why did it take all evening to accomplish four things? By the time they finally got into bed we were all exhausted just reminding them several times to do the next thing. Or they were all equally worked up and pout, or some tears and stomping on the way to bed. (My husband used to read to them in bed or I would, but I would certainly fall asleep while reading to them. Now we do are reading time after dinner - and I still nod off once in awhile.)
I had enough of this bedtime escapade so I told them if you are in bed by 8:00 p.m (now I have a friend who has all four of her kids in bed by 7:30 p.m. sharp) then you get a back scratch and massage (because the kids love those). If you are in bed by 8:15 p.m. then you just get a back scratch only. And if you go to bed after 8:30 p.m. you have to pay me five cents a minute each minute you are late.
Do you think this worked? You betcha it did (I sound like the detective lady from Fargo). Not only does it work, but now they are self motivated and get to the next stage without me asking them to do it. The older child will watch the clock for the younger and call out, "You only have five minutes to brush your teeth and rinse before you have to pay." It is a lovely thing - and the novelty of it still has not worn out. They absolutely hate to be late and have to pay me their hard earned cash and they also love the moments they have with me giving them a full body message.
Now getting them up in the morning might be a different situation one day, but right now they just hate to rush to get to school and they hate to eat their breakfast in the car. We have already told our son, who is going into fifth grade this fall, that come sixth grade it will become his own responsibility to get himself up or the "bus" is leaving. We will be getting him his own alarm clock. I had one friend call her daughter's teacher and warn her that her daughter might be coming to school in her pajamas if she didn't get herself up in time - and guess what - that girl always make sure she was up and adam and ready for the morning "bus" on time.
What techniques or rituals do have in the evening? How do you get your kids to bed? Any suggestions for less stress in the morning time routine?