Is Your Schedule Impacting Your Child’s Routine?
Getting home at the same time from work never seems to work out. When you get home your exhausted and burnt out from your day. You didn’t even get to have a “break” on your way home from work because traffic was horrific or your concentration ability has been sucked out of you from your day. You come home and your husband has the kids on the couch watching a movie. Clearly the bed time routine didn’t happen tonight nor has it been working out for the past few months. “You might not make it home the same time each night, but that shouldn’t have a negative impact on your kids’ sleep,” says Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, co-authors of The Dream Sleeper.
It’s so important to establish a routine and to be consistent with it. If you can’t get home by the kids bed time then have your husband or the care giver put the kids down on the scheduled time even if you are not there. The best thing that you can do is to communicate to your husband or your care giver about the importance of putting the kids to sleep on time so that they are not grouchy or sleep deprived the next day. It will be difficult in the beginning to have them adapt to the change but in a couple weeks they’ll be fine. Children will adapt to change as long as it’s consistent.
If you’re getting home on the hour that they’re on their way to bed, then go up to their room and help them get their pajamas on. It will be nice to take out some quality time together by reading them a book or by singing them a night time lullaby.
If you don’t make it home by the time they go to bed, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re doing them a favor by sticking to the schedule. You may feel bad about it, but you would be doing them a disservice if you didn’t follow the routine. Trying to accommodate yourself instead of accommodating the children in a healthy manner is selfish. Stick to the routine and your child will be a happier child.
Wait till your child is sleeping to go into his or her room to give them a gentle good night kiss. You don’t want to wake them up only to try to get them to sleep again. Make your mornings special by telling them something positive. Spend 5 minutes of quality time in the morning while eating breakfast or while making up their bed with them.
Remember to have quality time with your children and use your unreliable work schedule as a teachable moment to show that everyone has to be flexible to make a family work well.