For as long as my kids have been around, I’ve been on bedtime duty.
And the longer I’ve done it, the more I think it should be one of the primary routines any dad should take on. For one, we can’t nurse. And even if we could, we’d whine about it nonstop. For another, even a dad working full-time should be able to fit in bedtime to his schedule, let alone a stay-at-home parent. Dads get some much-needed bonding time, it helps dads and kids have time together that’s more relaxed, and you can’t match the benefits: if you do it well, your kid is asleep at the end of it! (Although sometimes you can do a great job and they are still staring at you because babies and toddlers do not care about your schedule.)
I spent hundreds of hours in a rocking chair. With twins, the fun challenge was trying to gently place them in a crib when your arms have fallen asleep. I don’t know what people with triplets do. Use a crane? A bounce house? Who knows. But, even though some nights the “Go to sleep already!” feeling was high, I wouldn’t trade those evenings for anything.
Sarah Cummings from Sleep Advisor is also a supporter of dads doing more at bedtime. She’s sharing her thoughts on why hesitant fathers should take over this routine below! It’s a team effort approach, and I’m all about it.
As parents, you are always pushed for time, putting yourself last and making sure everything is the best it possibly can be for your kids, right? Sometimes, you have to take a step back and realize that you’re actually pretty good at what you do, especially when you’ve got a tag team partner to step in and take over the bedtime routine.
Yes, we’re talking to all the other dads out there who might not be getting involved with this part of parenting as much as they should/would like; there’s no hiding on this one and we’re here to explain why you have to do your turns at the bedtime routine. It’s okay, stick with these tips and practical pointers and you won’t go wrong, we promise!
Parenting as a team is what we’re getting at here, so, with this in mind, consider these reasons for you as #teamtopparents:
1. Parenting is a team effort
Parents both have busy lives in various ways; whether you’re staying at home, going out to work a job, or working from home, none of it comes easy, so just remember that sharing is caring. By splitting bedtime routine responsibility, it allows the dad in the family to spread his part of the parenting love over to his children.
2. Change is as good as a rest
Chances are that you’re both super tired nearly all the time from being awesome parents and grafting at your job as well as attempting to have a half decent social life, stay fit, eat well, and all the other things we’re supposed to do as adults these days!
When you put this into perspective, being able to give one another that little slice of time to enjoy being alone as your significant other takes care of the nightly routine can do so much as far as a recharge is concerned. Just think how much of your sanity can be restored when you switch it up!
Really take on that tag team element so that you can each look forward to that slot of time every other night when you get to have some alone time to do whatever you like (probably sitting down with a cuppa (ed. note: I had to look this up. It’s tea!) in peace and quiet!)
3. Sharing quality one-to-one time
You’d be surprised at just how much your children will take away from the one-to-one time with each of their parents.
At SleepAdvisor.org, I often refer to just how much easier it will be for children to have a feeling that they are special and important when their dad is focusing just on them at bedtime, which can help them slip off to sleep much easier.
That’s not to say that they don’t cherish their one-to-one time with their mum just as much, but typically, it’s their mum who puts them to bed, so, once again, here’s where the sharing aspect comes in because it benefits everyone in the family. These bonding opportunities will last a lifetime, quite literally!
4. Everyone enjoys the special bedtime moments
The idea of getting your little bundles of energy off to sleep at night might not be massively appealing, but when you experience some special moments that would otherwise have been missed with your partner on bedtime duties, you realize how cool it is to have this in your life.
The things that happen, are said, or just having the chance to appreciate a frame in time where you just think ‘I made this’ before they chuck bath water out of the tub, will go a long way to making the bedtime routine something to savor and look forward to.
5. We’re all about flexibility
It’s vastly important to have a reliable routine, especially when you have children as this will help with their sleep, but having a schedule also provides an unexpected level of flexibility because the little ones develop the skill to recognize and take on board what to expect when one of their parents isn’t around.
Letting dad step in on the night-time routine every other day can thwart any potential impending tantrums and screaming matches if one of you is unable to do the bedtime duties.
You won’t have to fend off the ‘I want dad reading my story’, or ‘Where’s mummy?’ lines. Instead, the kids will know that this flexibility is there for you all to bask in and they’ll soon get used to it.
What’s more, you can chuck a grandparent into the equation and it’ll make it just as easy for them to get them off to bed and through their pre-bed routine when you’ve instilled this flexible behavior into their lives. This will leave you free to go and have a night out; remember those? One thing we can promise is that you will be home by 10pm to enjoy some quiet time because it’s just invaluable!
You can read more from Sarah over at Sleep Advisor, such as her buying guide for mattresses. They review everything sleep-related and there’s even a coupon section. Thanks, Sarah! You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.