In most households, there's going to be at least one parent that works outside the home. And like most working parents, you come home sometime around dinner or bedtime. You want time with your baby, after a long day at work, yet we all know that a tired child = cranky and overtired = hard to put down for bedtime child.
Is there a way to get both - the time with your child while also making sure your child gets to bed at a time that works best for their sleep cycle?
Here are some tips to get that after work dinner and bedtime routine down as easily as possible.
Easy Dinner Making
There's are several ways to do this, but I recommend one or more of these three methods. Use a crock pot and prepare it before you go to bed, so that in the morning you just have to turn it on. Another method to reduce dinner making time, is by doing meal prep during the days you don't work. Cook a couple of large meals during these days and reheat them during the work week. And finally, have simple meals that you shop for ahead of time and rotate during the month. These are meals that take 45 minutes or less from the time you start to the time you finish.
Quick Bedtime Routine
While it may seem that a long bath, a massage and some storybooks is ideal for bedtime, a lot of times these long routines work against you, instead of for you. A child has a short window between the first sign of sleep and when they need to be in bed to sleep. Instead of a longer bedtime routine, make bedtime routine quick and easy. I recommend to keep it simple with just a quick PJ change, 1-2 storybooks and a song.
Wise Use of Time
Skip watching media together and instead do a physical activity together. Go for a walk around the block, play some games or light wrestling together in your living room floor, play outside in the yard. Use the moments you have together to interact and reconnect with your child.
I know being a working parent can be challenging for keeping good bedtime routines. The goal is to still honor your child's need for sleep, while having some time with one or both parents to bond before bedtime.
I know it can be challenging, so if you need help with sleep coaching, feel free to reach out. Gentle sleep coaching may just be what your family needs.