Helping a baby fall asleep usually involves a pretty steady routine: a warm bath, a cosy sleeper, a soothing story, some milk and a few lullabies.
Helping a toddler fall asleep means helping them brush their teeth, wrangling them into their PJs, answering numerous questions, managing requests for drinks of water and making them try to pee just one last time.
Putting school-aged kids to bed is far easier in most ways. They can brush and floss their own teeth. They can put on their own PJs and put their dirty clothes in the laundry. They’ll pee if they need to pee — but usually they’ll wait until they’re in bed and then decide to take a jaunt down the hall. (Let’s not even get into the whole sleepwalking thing today.)
Even bedtime stories are different in our house, now that we have two kids who can read! Our five-year-old daughter reads us a book first, while I dig my fingernails into my palms to keep myself from blurting out the words. Then our seven-year-old son reads us a longer, more difficult book, or we take turns reading a page at a time.
After that, it’s time for prayers, which the kids can also say aloud on their own now. (Our daughter is extremely proud she’s finally remembering to say “thy” instead of “I” during the Our Father.) Then there’s a flurry of hugs and kisses, and everyone gets tucked in. Done!
“Mom, I don’t know what to dream about,” our seven-year-old called down the stairs one night. My husband and I exchanged “Huh?” looks, and he paused our show so I could answer …