“Thanks for riling my kids all up right before bed, Dan!”
I have admittedly heard this many times over the years from many different slightly to majorly irked parents. My sister. Friends. My ex-in-laws.
I can’t help it. I’m a bedtime kid riler-upper. I’ve always thought bedtimes were supposed to be fun and magical and awesome and funny.
Well, then I got my own kid. And old habits don’t just die hard. They don’t die at all sometimes. And every time it’s bedtime at Dad’s house, Noah and I follow the same routine.
First, we have story time. Not book time. I’ll leave that to his much more responsible mom. No, we have story time. Noah goes and gets any five toys from his room, and dad makes up an elaborate story out of them. Last night’s story was Bumblebee the Tansformer who lost all his Transformer pals and had to feed metal to the giant Tyrannosaurus Rex up on Mount Dinosaur if he ever wanted the answers he sought.
The bad news is, Bumblebee didn’t make it and there are no Transformers left.
The good news is, the Tyrannosaurus Rex has a really full belly and has promised to leave all the forest critters alone for the time being.
Anyway, story time is usually filled with screams and jumping and laughter and all sorts of theatrics that would make most parents grit their teeth.
When that part is over it’s over, and we do one of two things. On nights when we get to bed early, Noah gets to tell me a story (I think it’s good exercise for the imaginative side of his brain). On nights when we’re out of time, we head to his bedroom and the king of riling kids up puts on his crown and gets to work rilling his own kid up to the rafters.
It always involves screaming. It always involves laughing. It always involves tickling. And it usually involves someone getting eaten. I taped a few minutes of it last night.
Ummm. Yeah. Believe me now when I tell you that I know how to rile a kid up? That’s a regular nightly occurrence here.
Anyway, here’s the thing.
I have literally never, no not even once, had to argue with Noah about bedtime. I’ve never had to negotiate. I’ve never had to get mad. All I’ve ever had to do was stop the fun when I was ready, tell him it was time for bed, give him a hug and a kiss, and leave. He doesn’t tell me he wants more fun. He doesn’t come out of his bedroom. He doesn’t yell for water. He doesn’t tell me he can’t sleep. He doesn’t make a single peep. He just snuggles up to his big body pillow, closes his eyes, and goes to sleep.
So, my question is. Did I just luck out and get the best/easiest kid on the planet? Or is riling your kid up before bed the way to go?
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. What are bedtimes like with your kids?
I do that to my two girls, we always have fun on the weekends I have them. morning, afternoon, dinner time and bed time. As they say you don't stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.
We have similar bedtime rituals for my just-turned-3-today-year-old. When we get lazy and don't toss him around like a loony bird is when he gets out of bed and turns into a monkey instead. Good times.
Some kids need riling up. Some kids need a wind-down routine.
I'm Mary Poppins around here, and I'm a HUGE advocate of a bed-time routine. The *right* bed time routine will have the same reaction: A kid who looks forward to this time, enjoys the night time ritual, and falls asleep on cue without fussing or stalling techniques.
Not every kid needs the same routine. You have found a routine that works perfectly for your beautiful son. Good job!
The bedtime routine teaches a child how to wind down for the night. I sometimes have to remind adults to get back to their own bed time routine. For some people, a last burst of energy helps them burn off the last of the day's energy and helps them settle down more quickly.
For some people being riled up right before bed resets their rhythm, though, and causes them to lie there, awake, buzzing with energy.
I'm one of those 'other' people. I need to do things to settle myself down for the night, and the best bedtime routines for me as a kid were the ones that walked me down from my high-energy lifestyle to sleep-mode. My brother, on the other hand, would get up three or four times a night unless he got some wrestling time in with our father or my other brother right before bed.
I love nothing better than walking a kid through the bedtime routine. I sometimes volunteer for sitter duty just so I can do that.
So while your routine is probably the most perfect thing for Noah, do try to respect other people's patterns and bedtime routines, too. There's more than one valid choice!
My husband LOVES to rile our kids up before bed. They sing silly made up songs, they march in the "bedtime parade" they get tossed onto their mattresses.
They also get thoroughly worn out and ready to snuggle up in bed knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt that their daddy loves them to pieces. So yeah. Bedtime riling is definitely the way to go.
Love it! Thumbs up to the riling Dads in the world, they know the meaning of spending quality time with thier kids.
I sing a made up song counting sheep...one sheep, two sheep, 3 sheep sheep....still works at 10 years old, she actually looks forward to it.
Hahahahhah this is so damn cute!!!! He sounds soooooo happy, and your relationship with your son is clearly close! I love it. I'm not a parent yet so I don't know what works....maybe it's kid-specific??
I dont have any kids or any stories but every time u post a video like this it always has me smiling!
Aaaaah contagious giggles! That's an interesting strategy. I should try that with my nephews and see what happens! (If you never hear from me again, you'll know it didn't work) I think you may have been blessed with a very easy child. :) I like how you encourage him to use his imagination. Imaginations are important! I know that if I engage in a hyper conversation before bed with my roommates, I have trouble getting to sleep. I have to caaaaalm my mind down before sleep not rile it up cause otherwise it won't wind down.
I've tried both the calm before bedtime, and the riling up approach at bedtime... and honestly, riling them up makes them going to sleep take even longer. Granted, I have special needs kids, so that probably has more to do with it than anything. Way to be a great dad though!
That's exactly how my husband puts our kids to bed. The only time I get mad is when he's so loud with the 5yo it wakes up the1yo. Lol. But yes, they seem to go to bed really well after getting all crazy right before.
This reminds me of the way my husband puts the kids to sleep. Thanks for posting this..... I always get mad at him, but now I think I will appreciate his bedtime parenting style much more.
Routine is the key. It sounds like he knows your bed time routine and love it! Kudos sounds like fun! We used to have a congo line through the house or a bedtime train and everyone got on to go to the bedroom. It does help to have great kids LOL. But they knew if they were going to miss out on one on one time with whatever adult put them to bed, then mine usually were more than willing to go to bed. Going to sleep, well that is another issue all together. My oldest had undiagnosed facial ticks when he was little and didn't sleep well. My youngest was just a snuggler, but I think the routine you have is great! glad it works for you!
I think that it's ALL about routine, whatever your routine may be. If your routine is epic story time, then that's the cue for your little guy (and his subconscious) that it's time for bed and that after story time comes sleep. Epic Story Time seems like a good routine to me! It's worked for all four of the children I have helped raise, even my guy on the Autism Spectrum. Routine isn't necessarily about bedTIME or anything, it's just doing hte sam sort of thing every night before bed, whatever time y'all get around to it.