Mothers are responsible for so much during each day. If they don’t take the time to wind down and care for themselves, then a burnout or a breakdown (or both) are are pretty much inevitable. A great morning routine and a nightly self-care routine are great ways for mothers to routinely refresh themselves. I started my morning and nightly self-care routines after a battle with postpartum depression. I realized that I needed to take care of myself in order to be the mother that my children needed.
Self-Care doesn’t have to be super time consuming or expensive and it doesn’t take away from your children as some people would lead you to believe. It can actually enrich your relationship with your children. Let’s take a look at how my family handles bedtime and how you can create your own nighttime routines for your family.
Children’s Nightly Routine
Kids thrive on routine. When they know what to expect each day, then they typically are much more cooperative than if their day-to-day patterns are constantly changing. If you want to be able to have a somewhat consistent nightly self-care routine for yourself, then you need to be sure that your kids have one as well. A good routine doesn’t guarantee that they will go to sleep quickly and sleep all night long, but it does greatly increase your chances for a peaceful night.
This is what our kids’ nightly routine usually looks like:
Family Cleanup Time
This is important for everyone in the household. Having each person pitch in on the housework teaches responsibility and pride in ownership. It also makes for a more relaxing night and morning for mama because she can go to bed and wake up in a clean home.
The youngest kids make sure that their toys are put away and the oldest helps to clean the dining room and sweep the floors. Mom and Dad take care of the dishes, wiping countertops, and any other little tasks that need to be taken care of before bed.
Family Together Time
After we cleanup, we like to spend some time together as a family either watching a movie, playing a game, or just hanging out for a bit. This one varies a little depending on evening activities like dance class, baseball practice, etc.
Next, we send our kiddos upstairs to pick out their pajamas for the night. We used to skip pjs in favor of letting the kids sleep in the clothes that they were already wearing (as long as they weren’t dirty) to avoid more laundry and another step to the routine. However, we found out that the simply act of putting on clothes that are specific to bedtime really helps to put them in a more relaxed & sleep-ready mood.
The kids all go to their bathroom to brush their teeth. The youngest ones LOVE to brush their teeth to the “Brush Your Teeth” song by Bruno Mars & Elmo. Using a fun song like this is a great way to encourage kids to brush their teeth well and consistently.
Story, Prayer, & Cuddles
At this time, all of the kids go to their own beds. Mom & Dad go to the girls’ room to read (or make up) a short story. Our girls usually like to ask questions about the story so we answer those and then we move on to our son’s room. We read a book with him (or let him read to us). We then pray with the kids and let them say their own prayer if they wish. If any of the kids want us to cuddle for a bit before they fall asleep, then we do that for about 10 minutes.
Start soft music or white noise if needed
Please know that your children’s bedtime routine will not work perfectly every night. Sometimes things will happen out of order and sometimes you will have to skip steps altogether. The point is to have a general pattern to the time before bed. The kids will pick up on it and it will get easier as you go along.
Take Care of Yourself With Your Own Nightly Self-Care Routine
Now that the kids are in bed, you can start your nightly self-care routine. This routine should be fairly simple, but it should include steps that really refresh you. If you love face masks and bubble baths, try to add those into your routine. If a glass of red wine relaxes you, then write it in.
This is what I like for my nightly self-care routine to look like:
Before I start my routine, I like to set a cozy mood. Anything with a hygge feel is what I gravitate toward. Dim the lights, light a candle, wear cozy socks…you get the idea.
I use a gentle face wash and a makeup removing wipe to wash my face at the beginning of my bedtime routine. This helps me to feel clean and refreshed after a long day. You could also take a full shower or bubble bath here. I just prefer to take my showers in the morning.
Next, I brush my teeth. I use a bamboo toothbrush and Tom’s toothpaste. It may sound silly, but having a toothbrush and toothpaste that I really like adds a good amount of value to my routine. My husband and I usually brush our teeth at the same time. We use this time to goof off and be silly together.
I change into some comfy pjs and toss my dirty clothes into the hamper (if only my husband would use the hamper as well, right?).
After I have my pjs on, I go to the kitchen to make a cozy drink for myself. Usually this consists of a good hot tea or a cup of decaf coffee, but every now and then I opt for a milkshake because ice cream is delicious, yall!
I have recently started doing yoga in the morning and at night. This really helps to relax my muscles and my mind. I am currently following Sarah Beth Yoga on Youtube.
Book/TV/Relax with Husband
I take my drink and go snuggle on the couch with my husband under a blanket. My husband and I usually watch some mindless television to unwind… I know, I know…screens are bad, BUT I need something that doesn’t require me to think to be able to wind down. I like to get lost in a story line without having to use too much brain power right before bed. Sometimes I will opt to read a book instead, but usually I save my reading for the morning.
Lay Out Clothes for Tomorrow
Just before laying down in bed, I pick out the clothes that I plan to wear the next day. This saves me time in my morning routine and helps me to feel more prepared for the upcoming day.
When I am in bed, I pray. I thank God for the day that He has blessed me and my family with, I praise Him and His plan for our lives, and I tell Him about my struggles and requests for healing & comfort for others.
To create your own nightly self-care routine, you need to determine what stresses you out during the day and what helps to you unwind and relax. For me, I get stressed by the constant chaos of having kids in the house all day long…Don’t get me wrong, I love my kiddos, but they are little tornadoes. I relax with coziness and unwind with a mindless TV show. You can use my Self-Care Worksheet (free in the Member Resource Library) to help you work through this step. After you have this step completed, you need to write down what all you would like to do each night and the order in which you would like to complete them. This written routine isn’t set in stone, but it will give you a good guideline to follow each night.
What does your nightly self-care routine look like?
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