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Sleep, Afterschool and Our Week

sleeping preschooler

Sleep was a big focus of our afterschooling this week! My oldest was a very high-maintenance baby, sleep-wise, and as a result we’ve always had very involved bedtime routines. With four kids and Mike back to his usual travel schedule (he was gone last week and the week before, although home for both weekends), I’ve decided it’s time to streamline the bedtime routine. All three “big” kids now put themselves to bed. We’ll read a couple books, then they get in their beds and we turn out the lights. I’ll sing a couple songs, Mike will read a story if he’s home, and then I’ll put on recorded songs for them to listen to until they fall asleep. It’s working pretty well, so far. Three-year-old Lily likes to bring lots of toys to bed! I love that she brings her dragon, and Owie doll to bed every night, along with the Build-a-Bear my sister made for her. Sometimes her crocheted baby makes it in there, as well!

We had some fun afterschool activities, as well – our pumpkin pie-scented play dough was played with a lot, we spent every nice afternoon at the playground at Emma’s school, and we all enjoyed the self-inflating ghost Halloween science activity that I came up with!

The Afterschool linky is a space to share your afterschool activities for kids of all ages! How was your week?

afterschool linky

Cohosted by:

Just Playing Around

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Mama Smiles

Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns

The Educators’ Spin On It

What Do We Do All Day?

MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

16 thoughts on “Sleep, Afterschool and Our Week”

  1. I love this picture! We also have a pretty streamlined routine, but it’s fairly long, since Anna is allowed about 30 minutes of reading on her own before the “last cuddle”. She is usually asleep by 9 pm and gets up at around 7:30 on her own or at 6:45 with an alarm clock.

  2. jeannine: waddlee-ah-chaa

    Oh that picture is so sweet! Don’t you just want to kiss your kiddos when they look like sleeping angels!

    We’ve been having some fun putting together a Five Little Pumpkins Puppet Show! It’s nice seeing the children work together.

  3. awww, she looks so sweet with all her buddies. my son has tons of buddies in bed with him too. it’s a regular occurence for me to wake up with some of them on me :)

  4. We have recently streamlined too! I used to actually sit with them until they fell asleep. After story time now it is lights out and tucking in and so far so good! I have just gained an average of 15 minutes to my day! It is wonderful!

  5. Once again tonight I was SO GLAD Robin takes over completely after family prayer. In the evening I’d rather take care of laundry than still read a story (because I’d have to do the laundry after that anyhow!). :) Robin loves the story-reading and -telling.
    What time do you turn lights off? When do the children and you have to get up in the mornings?

    1. We do lights out at 7pm. We don’t have to be up until 7:30 or so, but the kids are usually up by 6, mainly because that’s when Mike tends to leave for work if he’s home and they like to see him. Mike is awesome about getting kids to bed when he’s in town!

      1. I admire you MAry Anne! Robin nearly never has a business trip and is usually only gone a max. of two nights per week (around the time the kids go to bed). I am trying to get the kids to bed earlier because I can tell that Quinn’s nerves are thin after school. She needs the most sleep of all three; still, it’s hard for the children to understand this. And HOW do you get your children to tidy up their toys?! Is it a daily thing or do you try to do it right after play? My kids mix toys so much and craft so much, integrating this into their play so often that it is hard for me to say “Tidy up!” right after a certain play – much is so intertwined. But then it builds up, which becomes unbearable (and I think I allow quite a lot of playtime build-up – chaos for most, like my husband :) )and being unable to make up for what they do not do at the moment (pregnancy), it can be absolutely frustrating for me – like this afternoon. It was terrible. What is your advice because soon I’ll also be handling it with four (but I will be more mobile then, hopefully)?

        1. Tidying up goes back and forth for us – we go through phases of messiness – it was pretty messy with a newborn this time round! When things get really messy, I just start limiting the number of toys that are available. Not a perfect solution, but it helps. We have thin nerves after school, too.

  6. Elisa | blissfulE

    I’m so grateful Ben does the bedtime routine, and he loves it (most nights) too. I’m sure Mike enjoys reading those stories when he gets a chance! Glad you’re getting things streamlined a bit – EVERY bit helps.

  7. What a sweet picture! Abby has always slept with a bed full of animals and dolls. She barely fits in it with all of her stuff. LOL!

    Good idea to streamline bedtime. That’s great that they are going to bed on their own.

  8. Isn’t it strange, how the kids take turns to be the highest-maintenance one for a time? Our kids go through phases like that all the time. Kudos to you for doing bedtime all by yourself, MaryAnne, you awesome mama! It’s not easy and I couldn’t do it if not for Dave. He keeps them on a tight schedule, which would fall apart totally under my watch because I’d be prioritizing dumb things like loading the dishwasher instead. Bath nights are even more like a circus. I love that Lily goes to bed with the three toys that were made by people she loves! Our youngest goes to bed with her entire menagerie of stuffed animals – there are at least 40 and not much room on her bed for her. The older two just have one toy each. They’re so different!!! Gotta love that about parenting.

    P.S. We watched your inflatable ghost video and loved it, especially hearing Emma’s voice. Showed it to my girls and they said, “OOooooooh!” Very cool.

  9. That is such a sweet picture. Our bedtime routine is very involved too. It takes well over an hour, closer to two, for me to get through reading, singing, and tucking in the three youngest – they have no interest in outgrowing it either!!!

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