Can You Reset Your Big Kid's Bedtime Routine?

Shortly after my son turned three, I noticed that–little by little–he had sneakily managed to extend his bedtime routine from 15 minutes to what seemed like an hour. Our once-easy routine had morphed into a tortuous process that I dreaded each night. Suddenly he was demanding more books, more songs, more kisses (both for him and inanimate objects in his room). Meeting these demands only prolonged the process and, even worse, provided him fodder for the next night.

Very quickly, bedtime became a power struggle that often ended in tears (mostly his, sometimes mine). When I finally managed to extricate myself from his bedroom, it was with the sneaking suspicion that I was losing both the battle and the war.

Sound familiar? As much as we want to spend some one-on-one with our kids at the end of a long day, sometimes the process of getting them into bed can royally suck. Here’s the good news: Bedtime isn’t a lost cause. You’re not doomed to a lifetime of power struggles and endless repetitions of Dragons Love Tacos. By bunkering down and following a few steps, you can reclaim your evenings as an adult while still spending some quality time with your little ones.

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