When I first had Jace, my oldest, I thought a sleep schedule was not needed. I didn't find the importance of it. I thought only boring moms would do such a thing. I was going to be the cool mom that allows her child to stay up as late as he wanted, to eat ice cream and play with the same puzzles over and over again. It was a cute thought, until that little nugget wore me out every night watching the same episodes of Wonder Pets until two in the morning. It took me a couple months to realize it was truly messing with his mood ; and mine too! I wanted to feel sane again. So I went through the hard but crucial process of getting him into a good sleeping routine. It took some time but it happened!
Now bed time is far from a problem in this home. Our bed time routine usually starts with cleaning up in the living room so we can turn off all the lights. We then brush teeth and use the potty. For years now we have been using the same sound soothing machine which plays slow classical music. I also light a candle every night and rub some lavender eucalyptus rub on their chest. They lay on their beds & that is when I take the time to talk to them in silence and darkness. I absolutely adore this time of the day because I get to un wind with them and get them to really open up to me. I ask them questions about their day; their current mood/ feelings. I tell them about my day ; and things I did or felt during the day. I love being able to connect with them without the background noise of the tv or toys all over the place. It is there; lying with them on their beds where I feel closest to them. We cuddle; we laugh; we tell each other secrets. I get to look them in the eyes while they enthusiastically tell me about the cool activity they did in art class; or the fun game they played during recess. It's a very special and important time in our day that doesn't last too long; but that feels the most amazing. As they whisper goodnight and I kiss them and tell them I love them; they turn over and fall deep into dream world.
I feel like as parents we just want bed time to be over with. Trust me I get it ; there are days when they are tearing up the house and I feel like I'm being held hostage myself... but I have realized that if I make it like a chore or something that needs to get done right away - they won't respond to it well. I know it takes my kids about 30 minutes to wind down and really go to sleep ; so I use those 30 minutes to get them comfortable and settle down while at the same time allowing them to reflect on their day; and tell me all their silly stories.
It has not always been one of my most favorite parts of the day- but I am so happy it now is!