Setting The Mood
"Turn down the lights, turn down the bed....."
"Gooooooo toooooo sleep, so I can snuggle with dad."
I am constantly singing songs and re-working lyrics to fit the current state of the household. Trust me, my children love it. Ha! Four bedtimes have to happen for us to have 'alone' time, and by alone time I mean we usually end up spending the first hour of complete silence in opposite ends of the house basking in the state of just 'being.' Until, one of us caves and texts the other to "Come here! You HAVE to see this video!" or "GOT (Game of Thrones) tonight? "
From as far back as I can remember I have always loved having alone time, most people do. Even just time with Brandon each night, uninterrupted is so nice...preferably before 9PM and we are both exhausted. I know each family does bedtime differently, each family chooses structure or not. I am in the middle, I like structure, I like routine, but I like the kids to go at their pace. However, I do allow time for their pace and routines begin earlier rather than later to avoid rushing.
Typically after dinner we begin the wind down phase. One last slow walk or park visit or romp in the yard, then into the house for warm tubby time, books, and quiet time. Setting the mood over here is key. It sets us all up for what's happening next, in slow relaxing way. Dishes get washed, curtains are drawn, I set the Sonos to Pandora's Classical Solo Piano or Guitar. I diffuse four drops of lavender, three drops of Bergamot, and three drops of Thieves. Only a few lights remain on as we lotion the babies while the older two finish their showers and prepare for bed. We read books then, because they share a space, Henrietta goes up to bed first. We have to put a safety gate across her doorway to prevent escaping, trust me, it happens. We crank the white noise and she turns on her little flashlight and reads in her bed. About fifteen minutes later we are able to lay Mozzy down with all four of his pacifiers.
Next is Riah and Thad, by this point they have gotten into their pjs and brushed their teeth. They know to read quietly until I have finished putting the babies to bed. Then we gather in a bedroom and read one to two chapters of a book, do a mad lib and chat about whatever's on their minds. Cautiously though, we've had theories on evolution go on for longer than it should have! They then read again in their rooms until they fall asleep.
It's the most magical time of the day, isn't it? The hum of the house, sounds of sleeping children, and cats curling around my ankles as I just....sit. Sometimes without realizing it, I have sat for sometime without anything else happening at all, just silence. I think in a way we all crave some sort of routine. A time of day that allows us to take it down a notch. Slow our thoughts and our bodies from the busy of the day. Teaching our kids to allow themselves to transition into a state of rest rather than rush emotionally into it. We set the mood, set the expectations and set the routine for successful sleep. Then everyone can face another day rested and recharged.
I think the best part of routine is that it has forced me to allow myself the much needed quiet that my body and soul desire. Giving me the time for me. I think each person deserves this and as parents and caregivers it's easy to push off what our body is telling us in order to do 'more.'
What's something you can incorporate today to allow yourself more rest?
1. & 2. Honest, Lavender Bubble Bath and Body Lotion - We love this company and all of their products. We love how safe their products are and the lather of the bubbles lasts for the entire bath time. The lotion isn't caky or runny, it's great consistency and it's good for little ones that like to help so it doesn't get all over the place!
3. Young Living, Bergamot, Lavender, and Thieves Essential Oils- It took me awhile to jump on the essential oil train, but now I am never looking back. I use these and others daily. Mostly to diffuse into the air, but we've made a few coconut oil based salves.
4. Young Living, Bamboo Diffuser - I chose this one based on looks alone. Works great and meshes in with our decor.
5. Kickee Pants, One Piece Romper- LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pajamas! Love that they come in preemie (having had two) to adult size. They don't pile, they are super soft and they breathe! Summer to Winter these are hands down my favorite thing for my children to wear to bed.
6. Books! Any book will do!
7. HoMedics, White noise machine- Batteries or plug in, this white noise machine has six different sounds. This bad boy drowns out all the chaos downstairs while the little ones nap each day. We also use it at night to help keep them sleeping.
8. Sonos, Play:1- have nothing but wonderful things to say about this speaker system. I love that it is connected to my iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, and I can get all the radio stations I want. With an app on my phone I can quickly change the song or the mood of the room. Having more than one Sonos also let's you having different options in each room or sync them all! Have I mentioned you can control the volume from your phone too? Love it.
9. JcPenny, Black Out Shades- I used to hang blankets on windows to make it darker in my kid's rooms, then duh, black out shades. Now every bedroom has them and what a difference it has made with sleep. It's much easier to get cozied in bed at 7:30 in the Spring when you don't have the beautiful Sun luring outside. With early school times, early bedtimes are a must, thank goodness these exist! They are cordless too, which is awesome for a lot of reasons besides safety.