Bedtime Checklist

For those of you without children, I’m sorry. But I had to post about this. I’ll do more posts for your enjoyment later. Although… some of these ideas may be helpful for husbands or roommates! 🙂

We have a real problem with getting Aiden to bed. He is not a very good sleeper, and for what seems like forever, he has had to have either Ches or I sit next to his bed until he falls asleep at night. A few weeks ago, I said enough is enough, he is old enough to just go to bed! It took some kicking and screaming the first night, less the second night, and even less the third night, but it was working. Aiden was figuring out that he could go to bed on his own and he didn’t need us to stay in there with him. However, even though I know all the experts say you should have a set bedtime routine, we weren’t so rock-solid on it, so Aiden would often get up with excuses like, “I need to go potty!” or “We forgot to say family prayer!” or “I need to give you a kiss again!”. I was talking to some more experienced mothers (they have teenagers or older now) about this, and I got a great suggestion from one mom. She sat down with her kids and they made a checklist. The kids decided what all went on the checklist, and every night they went through the list. The kids could see what was on the list, they ckecked it off every night, and they had no more excuses to get out of bed (“I need a drink!” “We forgot to read a story!). So Aiden and I spent an evening making one fine looking poster that now hangs on his closet door. Every night Aiden excitedly goes over the entire list, and IT WORKS. Except that he still says “I have to go potty again, Mom”, and then what do you do when you are trying to train him to tell you when he actually has to go potty? So we quickly sit on the potty, and it’s back to bed. Here is Aiden’s Bedtime Checklist:

Put on pajamas
Sit on the potty
Brush teeth
Family prayer (this includes kisses and goodnights)
Read a story
Get a drink
Personal prayer

The other suggestion that the woman had was to have the kids help make the chores list. She took each of her kids and they got to choose what chores they thought they could do. Every month or 6 weeks (whenever she felt it necessary), they would make up new lists and add on to it what chores they were able to do. Her kids literally fought over what chores they wanted to have (“no, I want to do the dishes!” “I get to vacuum!”), and they rushed to do their chores everyday so they could keep the chores on their list. By choosing on their own, the kids feel more in control and they WANT to do these things.

I swear, this woman is a genius. I had a little bit of an idea of using a list (I wanted to make one up for using the bathroom that included flushing the toilet, washing hands, and turning off the light), but it wasn’t going to be one that Aiden got to choose what was on the list. Seriously, this thing is great.


8 responses to “Bedtime Checklist

  1. That is a great idea to have a checklist! As soon as Reed gets old enough that I think he can grasp it we’ll do that, too. We’ve had a steady routine since he was two months old (and it includes him falling asleep in my arms and me transferring him to the crib, I confess) and for the most part it was one of the best parenting decisions I made. (some nights, however …)

    But something visual, something he can track with me, yes, when he can understand that being in his room without me is not the end of the universe, yes, that will be a very good thing.

  2. Lists are great. Will loves lists, but could care less about seeing it visually. Every time he uses the bathroom he tells me every step. When we’re going around town he has to know “where we’re going next”.
    My parents did the chore chart with us for awhile when we were kids, worked pretty good until we started fighting over which chores we DIDN’T want…

  3. That is a really good idea. We actually trained our kids by putting a lock on their door. When Elizabeth was 18 months old I woke up at 4 in the morning and had a feeling I should go check on her. She wasn’t in her bed! She wasn’t in the room, or in the house. I was panicking. She had figured out how to open the sliding glass door and security bar in our apartment and was wandering around the parking lot. So we put a lock on the door. Now we have safety locks we installed and a chime that goes off whenever the door opens. I still lock their door sometimes while they are trying to fall asleep, especially if I am feeling worn down and I am afraid I’ll loose it if they come out one more time . . . that is just one battle I don’t want to fight. I just unlock as soon as I know they are sleeping.

    Like the checklist though, I think we will definitley have to make one. I like doing picture checklists so the non readers can still “read” it. 🙂

  4. i wish you didn’t feel the need or want to apologize to those of us without children. it’s still fun to see how parenting works, and i smile a lot from reading the infamous “mommy blogs”…

    plus i’m taking notes in case there are any future frets to rule over. hehehe

  5. aaahhhh, I would love to see a little fret. That would be such a riot! Oh the mischeif and mayhem…

    Julia — !!! out in the parking lot? I’m so glad you’re open to inspiration and you follow it! Wow!

  6. Julia — I was going to put pictures on the poster next to each phrase, but I’m not much of an artist and didn’t feel like looking through all the magazones and fighting with Aiden about the use of scissors… he actually does fine without the pictures. He is trying to read, so he likes to look at the words and try to figure them out. We go through the entire list and say “Check!” after we have completed the task, so we actually get the whole list *many* times.

    Fourth Fret — I, too, would love to see a little fret. Hee hee hee. I can picture him/her now! It would be scary if we move back to Phoenix and you have kids and then they are in the same class at school… poor teacher. But I bet we’d get a good laugh from it! I’m laughing now just thinking about it, and there aren’t even any little frets on the horizon!

  7. well proud mum and sariah, if it’s true we reap what we sow, i would be wise to keep any future frets a simple pondering rather than a reality. i’m not even ready for me yet, much less more like me. hehe

    but sariah, i’m putting you on my potential adopted aunt list. that way i can just ship ’em off to you and your crew when i’m just a hair off from pinchin’ off their noses and makin’ them apologize to the recliner.

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