There is not a mum in the world that doesn't want a hassle free bedtime and for those of you that have established this we applaud you.
we have tried several methods to achieve the perfect bedtime routine for each of our children and you know what we discovered , there is no one size fits all, dah, kids are just little people so why would assume what works for one will work for another!
In our pursuit of bedtime happiness ( you like dat one lol) we have found a few things that work for all ages and once consistently applied reap adult free time nights....aahhhhh bliss.
Decide how long you need to get your kids ready, prepared and to sleep, if you need an hour, get home at 6pm then a 7pm bedtime would need to be pushed back in order to reduce the stress and pressure it will cause. Also allow a reasonable time between diner and sleep and last drinks and the amount of fluids, to reduce tummy ache and excessive toileting.
Stick to a regular bedtime, routines maybe boring but they produce structure and security.
Start with preparing your children mentally for the bedtime. In my house that sounds like you have 10 minutes until...the ... represents your process i.e. brushing teeth, p.j.'s on, shower/bath time or maybe tying done their hair. The point here is not to dictate an order to you but for you decide what needs to be done before they get in their beds.
Create a calm and relaxed mood before going to bed. This may mean that plaiting hair and cussing about dishes needs to be done earlier in the evening lol. But seriously, stressing little people out and then expecting them to sleep peacefully has got to be an oxymoron.
Once the kids are calm and before p.j.'s are on decide on your final interaction, make it clear that when that is done you are done. For little ones it might be after a feed and cuddle, slightly older story time and prayers, older still may involve eyeballing their room to see that their bed is clear and they have prepped for the morning routine (school bag packed, clean uniform laid out).
Keep regular sleep and wake times by avoiding too much leeway at weekends and holidays, this ensures they get the right amount of sleep and learn to wake by themselves. Kids falling out of routine means starting all over again, so if you're enjoying that adult chill zone you've created, stay on point. This is also a good way to introduce learning the time and for older children setting alarms.
Napping- we all love them, some more that others, but if your kids are anything like mine naps reduce the need to sleep throughout the night. So if you have toddlers and up and are struggling with sleeping through the night, don't punish yourself and them by keeping them awake instead try and reduce the length of time they nap for.
Check in with your children of all ages, don't let them go to sleep with worries or discomfort or pain. By talking with them you may hear about a sore throat, a bit of constipation, a child that was mean at school or a monster under the bed. All of these things and more keep kids up and bothering you so better to resolve or soothe what you can before lights out.
Reduce or remove screen time especially alone small screen time before bed. The overstimulation and influence is negative, you be the last thing your child sees and hears before they go to sleep.
Identify intrusions on a good night sleep. Light, noise, drafts and shadows can all play tricks on your kids mind or make them uncomfortable enough to disturb their night. If night lights are needed, make them dim or warm coloured. No headphones or music out load in direct earshot of lightly ones, so older kids will need to start their calm down time by the time younger kids are in bed.
These are our suggestions for hassle less bedtimes. Not everything will apply or fit your lifestyle but remember that a good night sleep is powerful. Growth, development, behaviour and health can all be altered/damage by poor sleeping habits. Develop a routine that works for your family, be consistent and reap the rewards sis.