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The 4 Easy Steps to Bedtime With Small Children

October 29, 2014

For the majority of parents, there are 4 simple and basic steps to getting your child to bed.


{insert the sarcasm here}



Step 1: Bath Time



Tell child it’s time for a bath


Child tells you they want to keep playing


Tell child they can play two more minutes


Start running the water in the tub


Add bubble bath


Go to child’s room and try to lure them into the bathroom


Child tells you his 2 minutes of playing is not complete


Drag child into bathroom


Start stripping child of clothing


Get yelled at by child because they want to do it themselves


Watch as child attempts unbuttoning a polo shirt


Wonder why you even dress them in anything other than a t-shirt


Put child on toilet


Child needs to pee and poop


Check the status and temperature of running water


Wait for the child to finish pooping


Check social media


Talk to the dog


Instagram this pooping family affair


Wonder why small children need an audience for bowl movements


Anticipate your own poop and shower time – in private


Lose track of time and realize the water is still running and the bubbles are growing


Tell child to wrap it up


Wipe child’s butt


Place child in tub


Listen to child whine about the temperature of the water


Listen to the child ask for more bubbles. 8 times


Negotiate the amount of toys that are allowed at bath time


Try to rationally explain why battery operated Buzz Light Year cannot take a bath


Convince child that he needs his hair washed because he decided to throw sand. For an hour straight


Listen to child whine about not wanting to wash his hair


Work up the motivation to wash his hair regardless


Get in there with that cup of water and Wash. His. Hair. and all the other parts


Recover from the hair washing


Dry the bathroom floor off from the flood that occurred during hair washing


Break the news that bath time is over


Listen to child cry about bath time being over


Get child out of tub


Chase after him with a towel


Let the dog out because she also got her hair washed


Find child


Throw a towel around them


Begin chasing the towel child


Decide they are dry *enough*



Step 2: Pajama Placement



Wrangle naked child and get them to lie on the bed


Or floor


Or kitchen counter (kidding)


Begin putting on underwear/pull-up


Answer when child asks what cartoon character is on the underwear


Listen to child whine about it not being the right character


Find a toy to keep child occupied


Wrangle child again because he got away while you were looking for a toy


Give child the toy and ask him to be still


Listen to child whine because it’s not the right toy


Attempt pulling the pajama top over child’s head


Listen to child cry because the hole for the head is too small since the kid-pajama manufactures don’t know how to make pajamas properly


Apologize to child and promise to buy new pajamas tomorrow


Start putting on pajama pants


Listen to child whine because these are Toy Story pajamas and he wanted Cars pajamas


Make a mental note to purchase Cars pajamas 4 sizes too big


Wonder why all the kid pajamas have to fit so damn snug


Contemplate giving up and letting small child sleep with no clothes on


Regroup and finish pajama placement



Step 3: Reading/Prayers



Calmly tell child it’s time to read books and say prayers


Listen to him whine about not being tired


Ask him to pick out 2 books


Reinforce only 2 books when he insists on 5


Redirect him from the toys to the books


Remind him he only gets 2 books


Send him to put away the extra books when he brings 4


Redirect him away from the toys. Again.


Ask about pee and/or pooping needs


Confirm he does not need to pee or poop for the 3rd time


Redirect him away from the toys


Get him tucked into bed


Position yourself in a way you’re able to read the books yet have a successful escape route


Open the first book


Get redirected because that’s not the right book


Open the other book and start reading


Finish book with no interruptions


Start reading final book


Become tempted to skip a couple pages here and there


Wonder why kids only like reading the same books, night after night


Curse the system because they know when you skip a page


Finish the final book


Announce prayer time


Get redirected again as child requests toys to sleep with


Listen as he lists things like, “my baseball bat”, “my larger than life Thomas the Train Steam Engine toy that whistles”, “my aviator hat” and my Lightening McQueen race track, complete with Tow Mater


Inform child that not all of those toys are sleep appropriate and try to explain the concept of compromise


Realize that a 3 year old has never and will never understand rationality and/or compromise 


Settle on the aviator hat and a suggest the cast of *plush* Toy Story dolls


As a courtesy, remind child that after prayer time, it will be lights out time


Ask child who he wants to pray for


Sit and listen as he lists every person he has ever known, every animal under God’s creation, and every favorite food


Silently thank God for such a precious soul but really start anticipating that alone time


Follow up with an out loud - Amen.


Get informed that he was not finished


Continue to listen to child now praying for his bruised knee and the ant bite on his toe


Follow up with an out loud – Amen


Kiss your sweet, precious, adorning baby goodnight


Reassure them you love them to the moon and back


Tell them sweet dreams


Execute the escape plan


Cringe and grit your teeth when child says, “wait mommy”


Child needs drink of water


Tell child no water is allowed after 8 p.m.


Listen to child cry about water deprivation


Tell child he can have a drink in the morning


Kiss your sweet, precious, adorning baby goodnight


Reassure them you love them to the moon and back


Tell them sweet dreams


Execute the escape plan


Cringe and grit your teeth when child says, “wait mommy”


Child says he needs to poop


Reassure him he pooped enough when he sat on the toilet for 20 minutes just prior to his bath


Kiss your sweet, precious, adorning baby goodnight


Reassure them you love them to the moon and back


Tell them sweet dreams


Execute the escape plan



Step 4: Lights out/Parent Walks Out



*Finally* turn out the lights and walk out


Shut door


Quickly walk to master bed/bath area and dream of soaking in the tub. Alone


Start your own bathwater


Look at the clock and realize child’s bedtime took entirely too long and contemplate just going to bed


Say screw it and go ahead with bubble bath plans


Find a good book




Take book and social media with you into the tub


Get positioned into tub just right


Open social media to read about all the other dinner time/poop time/bed time horror stories


Smile and silently gloat because your kid is in bed and your day is DONE


Hear the bathroom door open…








::hand meets forhead::

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