How we tweaked our 30-count technique to make bedtime routine a fun game
Is bedtime also so tough for you? Until recently bedtime for us was a fairly easy time, we had our method figured out and it worked well. But recently it doesn’t always work anymore. On some evenings, we need the best of our convincing skills to get them to move up, or just drag them to their room. But not anymore. Our new bedtime game makes the whole preparing-for-bed a fun time.
Remember our counting to 30 technique to calm down a fight between 2 kids? We turned this around, rather than calming down, we now use the 30-trick to give them a challenge and get them to move. Curious? Read the story of how we get Victoria ready for bed:
Victoria, tired, hangs around on the sofa. Bedtime is close and my proposals to go up hit a wall of laziness. So I tell her “Victoria, come with me, I want to show you something.” Her curiosity raised, she follows me to the bottom of the stairs. I look at her, putting a wondering face, finger to my mouth, and say “I bet that you can not run to your room, take down your trousers and slip, put on your pyjamas trousers and come back to me, all that before I count to 30!”
Her face moves from surprised, to thinking, sparkle in her eyes, smile on her lips and then she shouts “I can do that mommy, look!” Before I even get to two, she’s halfway up the stairs. I patiently count aloud, while I hear various sounds coming from her room. … 13 … 14 … She appears at the top of the stairs. She takes a halt, checks I’m not yet at thirty and then she flies of the stairs … 16 … “Stop mommy” Victoria shouts, “You see, I did it in 16 mommy”. She shines, proud, ready for a new challenge.
And so it went on for 10 minutes or so, until she was fully dressed in pyjamas, went to the toilet, brushed her teeth and washed her hands and face. She would have continued, but it was really time for bed.
Of course, certain things are better not hurried if, let’s say, you don’t want pee all over the bathroom floor So we made a deal, when she would get to a phase where I did not want her to hurry, for example brushing her teeth, she would shout “Stop”. I then stopped counting until she shouts “OK”. This way she could take as much time as needed and we still got the challenge going on. And she really went along with it. No cheating or anything!
What I particularly like about the “game” is that it gives them challenges without getting competitive. I sometimes put them a joint challenge. So they do not compete against each other, rather work together to achieve a common goal. Besides not wanting my kids to see everything as a competition, I hope it will give them a sense of teamwork and teach them to work together and take care of each other. We’ll see in 10 years or so how that worked out
And to conclude a fun bedtime routine, the kids do some dancing before getting in the bedtime. Victoria used to call it ‘Doing difficult sports’ …
High Five !!