After months of frustrating, drawn out bedtime struggles, I finally came to a breaking point. In those “why did I have children?” moments the idea of “5 in 5!” was born.
Getting ready for bed was taking way too long, so I decided the kids needed to complete 5 bedtime task in 5 minutes:
1. Get pajamas on
2. Put dirty clothes in laundry
3. Brush teeth
4. Get bed ready (find pillows, special blanket, stuffed animal, etc)
5. Fill sippy cup / water bottle
When it is time for bed, we all put our hands together in the middle. We each go around and say one bedtime task to complete as a reminder. Then we yell “5 in 5!” and we break. I hit “start” on the timer and the kids are off to complete their 5 tasks.
While the kids are literally running around, I use those 5 minutes to get the baby, Locke, ready for bed too. If Locke is already in bed, I use those 5 minutes to get me ready for bed instead. I like to brush my teeth with the kids so I can model proper brushing as well as monitor their brushing (and if my teeth are already brushed I am less likely to eat cereal at 10:30 pm.)
When the kids are done with their 5 tasks, they run into my room and give me a high 5! All before the timer beeps, of course. I am still surprised by their excitement as they run in my room.
The first kids done get more snuggle time on the bed while we wait for everyone to gather. Then we have scripture study and family prayer. Sometimes we start out on the bed together and have family scripture study and prayer first; then we break with our “5 in 5!” cheer. The kids complete the 5 tasks and then end up in their own beds and I make the rounds. I can’t decide which way works better.
You could pick any 5 tasks for your family. The tasks just need to stay short- like get a book, put backpack by front door, take vitamins, etc- so they can be reasonably accomplished in 5 minutes. This idea will have to be adapted when school starts because the bedtime routine requires more, but it is working great for the summer. Hope it works for someone else out there who is tired of asking their kids to get jammies on 10 times!