This post is sponsored by Amazon. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Bedtime is often one of the the most rushed times of the day, maybe even more so than your morning school drop off period. You’re trying to hit a bedtime deadline and 3 out of 4 times your kids aren’t sleeping on time. I’m no expert on bed time and there are days when bedtime looks completely different than our norm. I think what is most important is that you are flexible enough to take in daily changes, your children’s daily moods, your own mood and how busy your day was. Then adapt your bedtime routine around this.
We have extra curricular activities on some days and that can change our flow of our daily routine.
I have three children.. a 12 year old, 10 year old and 5 year old.
While our bedtime routine may not be perfect every night, it is filled with love, it is adaptable and it is nurturing.
Please note that while I am giving you a jist of what our routines are like, I’m not accounting for the imaginary play, the singing and dancing and the playtime that happens in between each of these main moments.
After School Routine
My children get home from school around 3:30 or 4:00pm. They get a quick bite of food, it’s often a snack of some sort. I give them an hour to an hour and a half to relax and unwind. My children are free to choose what they want to do in this time. If that includes them sitting down to watch TV or play some apps, that is what they are getting. This allows me to keep a nurturing balance between school time and home time. I want my home to be a safe haven. A place where my children find peace, tranquility and LOVE.
School can be hard. School is academically challenging, they are learning for hours on end and they are dealing with their peers all day. I know my children well enough to know that they need this down time when they get home. So I give it to them. I used to get down time as a child too and I remember how refreshing I felt.
I know that some people prefer not to allow their children any television at all in the week and that’s totally up to them. They know their children. YOU know YOUR child. You need to do what is best for them whether that includes or doesn’t include TV time.
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet is perfect for this time too with its range of apps and videos. The parent dashboard also allows me to monitor what they are doing and how much time is spent within each app. Learn more about the Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet parent dashboard and how to use it here.
I also leave a kids play tray out for Diyanah (and sometimes Aaliya) during this time. Some days she will do what’s on the play tray. Other days she doesn’t and that is okay. I’ve noticed that on the days I place an art activity on the play tray she always does it. Art is soothing for children and my children look for a soothing activity during this after school hour.
Sometimes my girls will turn on some music on their Alexa and sing while they paint.
To save time during the busier times of my day I put my kids play trays together either on a Saturday or Sunday when I have down time or while my children are at school. Learn more about kids play trays here.
At 5:00 pm it’s homework time. My 7th grader gets homework, my 5th grader is only assigned 20 minutes of reading each day (I love this district’s elementary school no homework policy) and my 5 year old Kindergartener has 20-30 minutes of homework. (This is a different school with a love for homework, apparently.)
My older two are independent with their homework. My 5 year old needs me to sit with her while she does it. It is often teaching sight words, having her read books to me or do specific activities.
At 5:30 pm I’m prepping dinner and making sure everything is good to go. My kids or husband will set the table if it isn’t already set.
At 6:00 pm we eat dinner. We talk to each other. This is a device-free zone!
Don’t forget to grab our free kids bedtime routine activity if you have a young child.
At 6:30 pm the girls go up for a bath or shower. My 10 year old is awesome in this regard and helps me bath my 5 year old if my hubby and I have any leftover work downstairs.
By about 7:00 pm the girls are done bathing. If it’s the girls washing hair day (Sunday’s and Wednesday’s) then we dry their hair afterwards. If not, they put on a shower cap so their hair is dry and they are ready for pajamas. If they need to get anything ready for school tomorrow they do this now. I’m trying to teach them to place their shoes and backpack in the right spot so that our mornings go by smoother.
Anyone else’s kids always missing shoes when they are late running out the door for the school bell?
Diyanah normally brushes her teeth in the shower but right now she is really enjoying brushing her teeth to tooth brush videos on her Amazon Kids Fire Edition Tablet. Here she is watching the Elmo toothbrush song. So we put that video while she brushes her teeth. (This helps ensure that she doesn’t brush for 15 seconds but rather the full 2 minutes.)
My 10 and 12 year olds have 15-20 minutes of independent reading time at 7:15. My 10 year old is reading a chapter book on her Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet, while my son is reading a paper book.
Each Amazon Kids Fire Edition tablet comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. This includes an ever-growing library of books, apps, audiobooks and more. Read here to see why the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet has become our favorite learning device.
My 5 year old will generally sit with me at this time and read picture books or we use our Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets. There are so many books available in the Amazon FreeTime library.
She will also do some independent reading while I get on my pajamas.
Because she isn’t completely reading yet – I keep her independent reading time minimal and often join her in reading. She likes to take charge so sometimes we share reading. I read a few pages and she ‘reads’ a few.
While some children are able to go to sleep on their own and do not require mom to be there for most of it, my 5 year old is not one of those kids. She has A LOT of energy and I think she needs me to help her calm down. My 12 and 10 year old can sleep on their own and eventually that day will come. For now, I’m going to enjoy this time together while my children need me.
Bedtime is about connection for me. It’s about sitting and laughing together. Connecting before we sleep. Telling each other about what our day was like.
It’s about feelings and comfort. It’s a message from my body to theirs that I have you… that I love you…. that you are important to me… and that there is nowhere I would rather be than here with you soaking in this mother and daughter love.
Once independent reading time is done I pick up a picture book and read to my girls for about 20 minutes. I usually read a chapter book out loud but sometimes my voice needs a break. I discovered the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet can also read aloud audiobooks! That means that we can all listen to a book while I rest my voice and cuddle with my girls.
The room is very quiet at this time as we relax. I normally put my daughters room night light on and we cuddle while listening to the audiobook.
This is what the room looks like as we listen to our audiobook.
We are currently listening to Winds of Fire.
By 7:30 or 8:00 pm the girls are supposed to be sleeping. At 8:00 I check on my son, see what he is up to and sometimes he will come hang out with me in my room. His bedtime is 9:00 pm.
Once the kids are sleeping I get some me time. I either read a book on my Kindle Paperwhite – or surf Instagram and answer any comments and questions I received on there. Then I relax and spend time watching TV with my husband. I go to sleep around 10:00 or 11:00 pm.
The Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet has become a great part of our bedtime routine because of how large the reading library is. Now before I make book purchases I always check if they are available in the FreeTime Unlimited store. See how the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet is great for family time.
If you’re interested in a kid-frienly tablet, you can use the code REDTRI to receive 20% off of an Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet.
There will come a time when my children will need me less and less and bedtime will become shorter and shorter until one day, they will be doing it all independently. On the day’s that I feel overwhelmed and tired I remember how short this time is together.
What is your bedtime routine (and after school routine) like? How old are your children?