Building An Effective Bedtime Routine With Your Kids As a Single Parent


little girl tucked into bed


The process of getting kids to bed can be a struggle sometimes. Kids have endless energy, and getting them to sleep each night can feel like a chore — no matter how angelic they look once they finally do sleep. It’s even more of a challenge when you’re a divorced mom trying to tackle everything on your own.

You’re tired, you’re trying to create a routine that fits the needs of your children, and you might be fighting against a different routine than what they’re used to with their other parent.

Take a deep breath and don’t give up hope. Let’s cover some of the various obstacles that you might face as a divorced mother, and some bedtime routine tips on how to combat them. By staying consistent and knowing how to overcome certain challenges, you can establish a healthy routine that allows your kids to get enough sleep without making every night feel like an endless struggle.

Overcoming Bedtime Challenges

If you’re trying to co-parent with your former spouse, one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face with your kids is combatting routines. Even if they’re only at their other parent’s house once in a while, it might be a completely different environment, and it can take some time for them to get used to your routine again.

One of the best things you can do to combat that is to work with your co-parent. You don’t have to have identical nighttime routines. But, being on the same page will always be helpful. It should make getting your kids to bed easier for both of you.

If you’re not able to come up with an agreement with your co-parent or you know their routines will never change, talk to your kids about what they need to expect from your routine. Then, be consistent. Do things every night that helps them get in the mindset of going to bed, such as:

  • Tidying up;
  • Taking a bath/shower;
  • Reading a book;
  • Talking about your days;
  • Doing something relaxing;
  • Preparing for the next morning.

Another challenge you might face, especially with older kids and teens, is technology. While digital devices can be great tools for single moms, they can make getting kids to bed difficult. Most devices, including cell phones and tablets, emit a specific kind of blue light that stimulates the brain and makes it difficult to sleep. Additionally, if your child is watching something or playing a game on a device, it could take their mind a while to settle down. You can fight back against these issues by helping your kids develop healthy tech habits, especially if they’re gamers. Set time limits on screen time, and create boundaries for them. For example, making sure they turn their devices off at least 30 minutes before bed will give them enough time to wind down.

Finding a Routine That Works for You

With a quick Google search, you’ll find countless sample routines other mothers use to get their kids to bed each night. Taking tips from those routines can be a great idea if you’re struggling. But, don’t feel as though you have to follow someone else’s schedule to the minute.

Building an effective bedtime routine, especially as a single parent, is about what works best for you and your children. Do your best to keep things simple, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make things perfect. Some suggestions to keep in mind include:

  • Having a concrete bedtime;
  • Limiting heavy snacks at night;
  • Creating an ideal sleep environment;
  • Doing a relaxing activity together.

Once you establish a routine that works for you and your kids, it can end up being something they look forward to each night. Remember, divorce can be hard on them, too. A routine that helps them relax and get rid of the stress from each day will make a big difference in their overall mental well-being.

Establishing Your Own Routine

There’s no question that being a single parent is hard. You want to put your kids first, and it’s normal to prioritize their needs over your own. However, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If the stress of getting your kids to bed is taking a toll on your mental health, make sure you’re practicing self-care.

That includes building your own bedtime routine after your kids have gone to sleep. Finding ways to relax, clear your mind, and get the rest you need can make a big difference in how you feel.

Try things like doing one chore a night before getting ready for bed. It can help you feel accomplished and more at peace. Additionally, prepare for the morning by getting lunches ready and having your clothes ready to wear. This will keep you from rushing around and feeling stressed when you wake up. Your nighttime routine might also include things like:

  • Reading;
  • Taking a warm bath;
  • Yoga or light stretching;
  • Journaling;

Establishing a healthy routine will improve your sleep hygiene. Essentially, you’re letting your mind and body know that it’s time to get some rest, so they can wind down accordingly.

Finally, make sure your bedroom is an ideal environment for sleeping. If you’re still in your marital home, consider remodeling your room so it feels like your own personal sanctuary or safe haven.

Getting back on track with your kids’ schedule can be difficult after a divorce, especially when it comes to getting them to bed. Keep these tips in mind to make the routine easier for everyone, so you can all get a good night’s rest.

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