Now, I don't know about some of you, but we've been struggling a bit to get our kids to bed at the moment. Ever since Christmas when we let their routines slip a little they've been a bit...tricky.
Let me expand a little. Normally both kids would eat dinner, play quiet games, we'd take them upstairs; bathe them, brush teeth, pjs, story song, prayer. Then I'd say night to Izzy with Ethan, sing him a song in his room and say night to him. Blow a kiss to Izzy and then high five hubs when we got downstairs and do whatever we wanted!
Yep I hate the old us. We were smug and over confident. I mean don't get me wrong...since Ethan was born bedtime and nights have been very tricky (like up every two hours feeding till 13 months hard). But since Ethan was 14 months till before (20ish months) we've had it fairly easy!
Izzy screamed, ran about, came downstairs for a drink, tissue, toilet trip, cuddle, teddy...ran screaming into Ethan's room (who'd just fallen asleep),.
Ethan would cry, demand to be held, not fall asleep alone etc, etc. I'm sure most of you know the drill.
This went on from about boxing day until a week or so ago. I'd have to sit in Ethan's room holding him till he fell asleep, then quietly put him down without him waking, sneak out of his room and then have to repeat till he managed to stay down. Only then could we put Izzy down, which would take a long time too. Plus Ethan would surprise us with 3.30am wake ups refusing to fall asleep and wanting breakfast. Ugh.
Sorry, this was supposed to be a simple tutorial but it has turned into a great big offload! If you skip past the last bit that's fine, just typing it has been very therapeutic.
Anyway, things have been improving greatly but Izzy is still struggling to stay in bed. So one night I had a brainwave.
She loves reward charts. I've had them before for bed times, potty training and other random things...but I wanted to make a really special one now she was a little older. And one I could reuse.
Serendipitously I also found some magnetic paper in the pound shop that I had yet to use...
So I made this for my fridge. If you also want to make one, here's what you'll need:
Mod Podge (I made my own recently with half and half water and white glue, though I think a little more glue to water may be even better, this one make a few bubbles, but worked really well still!)
Scrapbook Paper - For the front of the chart, mine was a slightly patterned pink.
Images for magnet fronts - Mine is the flowers and presents paper, but you could print off your kids fave cartoon characters, game or whatever you fancy.
Magnetic Paper - Mine's upside down because it just looks like normal paper the other way round. I used one sheet for the chart and about a third of another for the magnets.
Cover the paper side of your magnet paper with Mod Podge and then smooth on your chosen trimmed background.
Cut out your magnet images and Mod Podge them onto another sheet of magnetic paper.
When your chart background is dry draw on your chosen design. I chose a castle with a garden path. But choose whatever you fancy or print one off and skip the background paper bit. I'm sure there are more original ideas, but Izzy really loves princesses right now.
Cut out your magnets and leave to dry.
You'll probably need to lay them under some heavy books after to prevent them from curling a little a the edges.
Then show and explain it to you just-woken-up child.
She gets one magnet for going to bed without getting out or shouting out and going straight to sleep (we found that if we said go to bed "well" or "nice" that wasn't specific enough). And another if she stays in bed 'till her alarm at seven.
The alarm clock is one we got from Ikea when we were married that you can record your own wake up. She does her own new one every now and then. Sometimes it's: "Time to wake up!" or "ROOOOOAAAARRRRRR!" or "Poopy morning."
You know, she keeps it fresh. :)
So far it's working pretty well as an incentive and she knows she can choose a magazine when she gets to the castle.
So what do you do with your kids to help with bed time routine? Ethan is still struggling to stay in bed past 5.30, and will normally wake Izzy too...
Please, for my sanity, don't tell me that your kids are perfect sleepers. I don't have much left to go till I'll be on the crazy train!
p.s. I will have some Ideal vs. Real posts to show before the end of the week! I've not been struggling with the 'real' shots though!