For the last week or so the kids have been crazy wound-up at bedtime. They both get extremely excited when Mike gets home but they’re usually calm by jammies-and-teeth-time. This past week, though…Annie was really excited about school starting and the long weekend, and I think that’s played into it. James just feeds off of Annie’s energy, and then they get each other more and more hyped up and ugh, vicious cycle. After a couple disastrous attempts at bedtime this week, I came up with a new plan: bedtime races.
It’s simple, I just had the kids run from Point A to Point B over…and over…and over. Annie is competitive so she loves it, and James wants to do anything Annie does (with the added bonus of him finding running hilarious, so he laughs during every single race) so he loves it, too.
At first, I just had them run from James’ room to my office. They did that a million times, but after one of the races I made a joke that it was a “photo finish.” Annie wanted to know what that meant, and then she demanded I take pictures “in case there’s another almost-tie.”
The first night of bedtime races, the kids were asleep within five minutes. AMAZING! So of course we continued it, adding in a few props I found.
The checkered flag was fun, although James didn’t really get it…
The finish line tape, however, was a huge hit.
Annie even let James win a few times. “He needs to break the ribbon, too!”
(I had a whistle but I think Rigby would have killed me.)
I think Annie would have run through the finish tape all night if we hadn’t reminded her it was bedtime.
I think I’ve probably created a monster with this racing thing because I don’t see either of them forgetting about it anytime soon. I don’t mind, though. It’s always fun to see the two of them interacting, and I love having the house filled with their giggles. And, most importantly, they fall asleep immediately and stay asleep all night and man, why didn’t I think of this sooner?
What a great idea!!
I’m completely shocked that they sleep 5 minutes after that! Would have thought that it would just wind then up more. However, if it works, it works!
What fun pics! I can just hear all the giggles! You guys are the most fun parents ever!!!
So interesting. All the “manuals” say to calm them down.
We’ve started doing a similar pre-bedtime game — but instead of races it’s SUPERHERO time. Run from the bedroom to the living room to get the bad guy (i.e. dad). Bedtime has (almost) never been easier!
There is something to say about exhaustion and it sounds like you nailed it.
What a great idea! You should write a book with all of your awesome party ideas, family fun tips, and DIY’s.
When our oldest daughter was in preschool and we lived in a little apartment, we’d take her over to the park next door after dinner and have “races” the the fence at the far end of the field and back. She thought it was tons of fun and had no idea we were really just trying to wear her out for bedtime.
That is hilarious. And I love the pictures. And may try this with my fiancé.
Sometimes, Annie looks a bit like Stevie Nicks to me. Not in the pics you posted in this entry, but some from the same set, on Flickr. Has anyone else ever made that connection? Kinda random, I know.
By golly, you’re right, she does.
Yesss! Validation! ;D
They look like they had a blast. The looks on their face are priceless! You do such fun things with your kids.
No, seriously, except for my sweet mother, you are the best Mom ever!
Wish it would work with mine. They’d just get more wound up.
This worked!!! I tried it last night with my 5 and 3 year old and they a) loved it and b) went to bed no hassles what so ever.
YOU ARE A GENIUS.
YAAAAY! Exhausted children FOR THE WIN!
SUCH great faces!
We had lots of bedtime running for a phase when my kids were little like that! If it works do it. It didn’t last forever for us.
I don’t have kids, but if they are anything like my dogs, wearing them out is totally the way to go. After a loud, exhausting play session, they pass out! It’s awesome!