Before everyone’s normal routine was flipped upside down, my husband and I had our family’s daily routine down to a science. We both worked full time, our older two went to school, and the youngest went to daycare. Our day started bright and early at 5:45 AM, with everyone out to face the world by 6:30. After the daily grind of work, school, homework, and after-school activities, we ended the day with dinner before 6:00 PM and the kids bathed and in bed by 7:30.
Of course, that daily routine was thrown out the window due to COVID-19.
While we no longer leave the house on a daily basis, we try to fill the day with activities to stay busy. Our mornings still start pretty early. All three kids are up and ready to start the day before 7:00. Breakfast and schoolwork are first, followed by numerous bike rides, trips down the backyard inflatable water slide, and several of those infamous chalk mosaics drawn in the driveway.
Keeping an early bedtime despite the chaos
In the beginning, we would let the kids stay up late to watch a movie or play the Wii, but no matter how late they stayed up, they were up at the crack of dawn the next morning. It didn’t take us long to realize that we had to bring back some type of normalcy to the bedtime routine. To be quite honest, we were wiped out too, so an earlier bedtime was needed for everyone’s sake.
Besides an early bedtime, we have implemented “quiet time” for our 9 and 5 year old. Our youngest takes a nap after lunch every day, so during that time, our house is under “quiet time” rules. The rules are simple: no electronics, no whining for mom and dad, and don’t wake the sleeping baby! Anything else is fair game. They can play in the backyard, read books in their rooms, or play board games with each other (without arguing!). Since incorporating quiet time, there have been a few days where we discover that the kids have fallen asleep in their beds.
Netflix and Chill
Another reason for the kids to have an early bedtime is that it’s good for our marriage, especially when we are under a “stay at home” order. Watching a movie instead of breaking up a sibling squabble or changing a diaper is essential to keeping our sanity. I’m not saying that we put the kids to bed early just for us to binge-watch Netflix together, but we do enjoy that time just to take a quiet break.
Good Night and Sleep Tight
Since we don’t have anywhere to go these days, we obviously aren’t as rigid about everyone being asleep by 7:30 PM. However, we have learned over the last few weeks that it is best to have them asleep at a decent time. This has proven to make a huge difference in how the following day will go, for the kids and us.
Every family is different. I’m sure some kids are staying up until midnight lately and not waking up until noon! My kids haven’t learned that trick yet! Do what’s best for your family, and everyone sleep tight!