The 4 Easy Steps to Bedtime With Small Children

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

Undress

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…

“MOMMY??”

::hand meets forhead::

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