How to Transition Your Kids from Chaos to Calm at Bedtime

Bedtime Basket

A while back, I noticed my children were having a hard time transitioning from the hustle bustle of  the day to settling down in their beds. All the expert advice told us to keep the last hour before bed a calm and relaxing one. But our evenings are always packed with dinner, Tae Kwando, baths, chores, homework, etc. Once the clock strikes 5, it becomes the Witching Hour at my house that lasts all evening until the moment their little heads hit the pillow.

And while beautiful visions of a blissfully calm hour of reading a book and saying prayers with each child as they drifted off to sleep danced in my head, it all seemed entirely… impossible.

If I could teleport you into my home during that last hour of the day, try as I might, you would see one child saying they can’t find their pajama bottoms, needing one last drink, needing to go to the bathroom *One. Last. Time.*

You’d see another child saying they forgot to finish one part of their homework, they can’t find their special stuffed animal, they just couldn’t possibly go to bed without a special hug and that their tummy says it’s huuuuuunnnnnnggggrrrryyyy!

The third child would be running around confetti-ing clothes from the hamper around the room while I am attending to the other children’s needs. He would be taking the opportunity to grab the marker that got scooted unnoticed under the couch, or grabbing the toothpaste out of child number 2’s hand and squeezing it onto the counter, he’d be shaking his sippy cup, full of milk, upside down on the floor….and then the baby would be crying and needing nursed and his diaper changed.

Sigh. Yes, this is the Witching Hour.

But somehow, I knew there had to be an easier way. So first, I cut out the nightly book. I know, I know! It’s against all the parenting rules! But we read together throughout the day anyway. In fact, one house rule is that they must read a book before they get to watch their tv show.

Second, I began saying the nightly prayer all together with them before heading to bed instead of individually. Since we say grace before dinner as a family, why not as a family before bed also? My other strategy included a little something I put together that I call…

{Sound the trumpets}

The Bedtime Basket. This basket has all the tools and tricks of the trade together, in one place to help wind down their little minds and bodies from the chaos of the day and find their z’s more easily.

So what’s in my basket? Glad you asked!

Magnesium Oil. The first thing I decided to include in the Bedtime Basket was Magnesium Oil because it is known for supporting serotonin and melatonin production, reducing anxiety, migraines and helping regulate sleep patterns. I spray a spritz or two on the soles of my children’s feet and cover them with cotton socks. I made a few simple glass roller ball blends with relaxing essential oils such as lavender and chamomile to roll onto pulse points before bed.

Myofacial Massage Ball & Wooden Back Massager. There is a myofacial massage ball and a wooden back massager that I use on my children to help loosen knots and tight spots in their backs.  This is one of their favorite parts of the bedtime basket. During this time, I ask them questions about how their day was, if there is anything they would like to tell me, or if there is anything they would like me to pray for.

Sleepy Balm. I also have a diy lemon-lavender sleepy time balm that I included in the basket because one of my children in particular prefers it over the roller ball blends.

Hot Cream. The Hot Cream is an all-natural muscle relaxation rub similar to Icy Hot. Any bruises, aches, pains and knots get a little bit of this wonder cream. It also smells wonderful!

Peppermint Foot Rub. Tired feet get treated with a natural peppermint foot rub.

Eczema Cream and Non-scented Lotion. My son has some pretty severe eczema that can get out of control very quickly, so I have included his eczema cream in the basket so I don’t forget to put it on him.  And as Old Man Winter has made his presence known in these parts, I included some hand cream to sooth and comfort dry, itchy skin.

Granted, this is quite a list of things that I included in the basket, but I don’t use all of these things every night. Rather, each child gets the magnesium oil and each child gets a back massage. My son with the eczema issues gets the cream. After that, they get to choose one to two other things from the basket and then we call it a night.

While this routine doesn’t make the witching hour totally disappear, it certainly helps transition the crazy monkeys little lovelies once they are in bed and lessens the time it takes for them to fall into the Land of Nod.

Hmm…Maybe it’s time I make my own Bedtime Basket too!

Would you ever use a Bedtime Basket? What things would you include?

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