They've always had 2-3 stories at bedtime. But after seven years of the same shit (mucking about, squabbling over books, me having to remind them of every single little thing that needs to be done) I'm sick of it. They should know the drill by now and be able to do three simple tasks of going to the loo, washing their hands and brushing their teeth in the space of about 10-15 mins without mucking about, getting distracted or me nagging them. I usually love reading them stories and they are actually lovely children but unfortunately by 7 o'clock I'm tired and irritable, and if my mood is worsened because of their lack of cooperation I simply don't want to do it. Tonight, instead, they got a massive lecture from me about how crap they are, before I walked out leaving them to it. It's not good is it? They can both read to themselves now and I've let them do that. Am I a massive meanie? Do all children get a bedtime story every night? Any cunning ideas to get them to cooperate more at bedtime? They are 5 and 7.
Can you set a timer that goes off and that's bedtime - eg a 30 minute timer, and you start reading when all the jobs are done, so the longer they take to get ready the less story time they get (possibly none)! My kids seem to respond better to a timer than me nagging.
It's half term, they'll reset a bit over the break.
I still have to remind my 9yo to brush his teeth.. He's generally good with other things, but this time of the evening is just such a chore for all of us. I like it once they're finally in bed and I can read them stories.
I do cheat sometimes though. The 9yo will read to the 4yo a couple of times a month.
Don't beat yourself up. We all get to that stage of having enough. I have been there with the pissing about at bedtime when in reality all I want to do is get them into bed so I can have some peace and just do fuck all.
The thing that worked here was a timer. I would set it for 15 minutes, and explain to them they had 15 minutes to toilet, teeth etc and be in bed. Whilst they were doing that I would select a few books, in bed before that time, they could choose a book each (hence pre-selected) if not I would choose one.
After a few weeks, I would say hey about you reading a story tonight to everyone. From there it was really easy to extract myself without feeling like shit. They knew that I would also read to them, but not every night.
But tonight, go back in and read to them. Apologize, say you're tired and so one book tonight, and then it's time for sleep.
I think you should still read to them, but maybe set the time limit out as others have said. I have to remind my 12 year old to brush their teeth still so youve years of it yet! But at 5 and 7 I'd still read to them.
Thank you. Don't think I could do separate bedtimes - would mean me going through the routine twice in an evening. I suppose a timer might work. I've always tried to make them understand that the more time they spend in the bathroom, the less time there is for stories but they've never really seemed to grasp it. Maybe a timer would be the visual tool they need to get the concept though.
That's a good one Gatehouse, might try that, although it would mean me being rather involved - I kind of just want them to get on with it all without me even being in there - maybe they're just too young for that.
I'm wasn't suggesting I stop reading to them altogether, definitely not, just wondering how bad it was of me to deprive them tonight (and the one or two other times this has happened.) Its too late for tonight though, they're both asleep now. (That's one good thing!)