When I was pregnant with T.J I found ‘America’s Supernanny’ Deborah Tillman and became obsessed with watching every episode! I can’t remember now if I was watching them via Netflix or Youtube but either way I learned so much from watching that show. It was amazing to me to see these crazy, out of control and even hopeless families get turned around for the better with a framework of structure, discipline, and the establishment of family rules based on love and respect.
One thing that caught my attention was how well the youngest of the children responded to routines. So many negative behaviors disappeared simply by setting up an environment where the child new what to do next and knew what was expected of them. The routine that stuck in my mind was the little children’s bedtime slogan she used. She called it the 4 B’s- bath, brush, books, bed. I started saying that to E over a year and a half ago and I am still saying it. I guess that I have now adopted it as one of those parenting phrases that annoy the kids ha ha!
It really works though. After dinner at some point I clap my hands and say, “bath, brush, books and bed!” The kids take off running for the tub. Once I had 2 children we don’t do a full bath every night. If they are not very dirty a wash cloth on little faces and hands works but most nights I do give them a bath. It’s something fun that they enjoy and it actually gives me a few moments to sit down and rest while they play and I supervise. After bath it’s pajamas and brushing teeth. At that point I will usually do a board book with the baby then lay him down before spending some one on one time reading books with E.
My husband’s job makes establishing family routines difficult but bedtime is one area that I have managed to build a little soothing structure for the kids that I can do regardless of what shift he is on. I know a lot of you are in the same sort of situations so I hope to get some feed back on this and hear what routines you have in place for your children that bring stability and peace to your family.