I often imagine that had we started ten years earlier, Dad 101 and I would now have at least six children. Alas it is not to be, and we feel more than blessed with our two little ones 🙂 However I am still fascinated by the dynamics of large families and am excited to welcome Naomi of Seven Cherubs to Childhood 101 today to share what works for her family at bedtime…especially as I just cannot imagine the challenge of getting seven small people all into bed!
Bedtime at my house is a long drawn out process that does not always look the way I want it to. It is often full of long chats, questions, toilet trips, requests for drinks, requests for food and messed up beds from tantrums of not wanting to go to bed! If someone was to visit my home during bedtime hours they would probably say it looks like chaos. I would say it is more a bedtime routine of organised chaos.
As the mother of seven children ranging from ages 13-4 years old, my nights are often filled with helping with homework, reading stories, putting on a load of washing, helping my children finish off after school jobs, baths, showers and sorting out school notes and paperwork.
Amongst all of these activities happening in my home I also make time to put my children to bed and somehow fit in everything else that needs to be done. Most of my children go to bed in shifts or at different times according to their ages as I find it easier to keep up with everything going on if I do it in stages.
My younger children aged 4-6 years old (3 children) go to bed first and when I announce it is bedtime they head off to bed and often spend time sitting up in bed reading while I make my way to their rooms. I say make my way because I normally get asked to do 5 different things on my way there and it can take me 10 minutes just to make it up our hall!
When I finally get a chance to make it to see them I normally read them a story or tell them a story and have a quick chat before turning the lights off. When they are settled in bed I then head back out to help the other four children make their way to bed so I can have some ‘ME’ time. I sure need it some nights!
My next child to go to bed is my 8 year old who is right in the middle with her age. She is a little too old for the younger bed time slot and a little too young for the older bed time slot. Some nights I let her stay up a little later but most nights she has her own bed time.
After putting her to bed with the same routine, I then help my older three kids with a little homework, talk to them a bit more about the day they had, allow them to spend about 15 minutes reading and then turn the lights off for sleeping.
As soon as my older three kids hop into bed to do some reading I start finishing up tasks around the house. I then sit up in bed and do some of my own reading or some writing. Some nights bedtime runs really smoothly and other nights every child wants to have a big long chat and it can go on for ages. I love having long chats with my children but when I know I still have 5 other kids to go to put to bed…those chats start to make me very sleepy 🙂
It is rarely a quiet, peaceful experience with so many children but everyone knows what the routine is for them and what is expected as far as bedtime goes. Every so often we see a few tantrums when they feel like they are missing out on something but generally it works well for us.
My favourite time is when I know all of my children are asleep and I go around to each room to kiss them good night. That is my favourite view of what bedtime looks like in my home. Sweet cherubs sound asleep with me watching over them.
Wishing you many full nights of sleep Christie. Thanks for having me.
Naomi is the mother of 4 girls and 3 boys and loves to write about all aspects of motherhood and parenting and blogs at www.sevencherubs.com.