Here follows a bit of chat – never can resist one – sorry – feel free to keep scrolling to the instructions! Also if you already have calm routines I won’t blame you for not trying this! We are very lucky to have bouncy boys of a certain (and close!) age and a toddler with her own agenda. Sometimes they aren’t quite ready for the calm bit and activities like this seem to help them unwind and switch off a bit.
Things like this also help me to enjoy the crazy a bit – so I’m sharing in case it helps anyone else. I send my apologies if it doesn’t work!
So yesterday I was overtired (teething, snotty toddler!) and really not feeling the day that was stretching out ahead. We had school club, OH out for the evening….and I was in vague sleep deprived haze. So I left the perpetual tidying up and thought about me. What would make me happy, what would be a happy end to the day… I knew the kids would enjoy it too but it was a bit about me tbh 🤭.
A fab teacher I worked with always used to say make sure every lesson had a bit you’re looking forward to in it, because you’re natural genuine enthusiasm will rub off. He was a chemistry teacher and used to blow something up (not a suggestion!) most lessons 😂
Anyway, here is what made it work for us – excuse typos, speed typing after being brought back down to reality with a full on toddler overtired meltdown. If it’s okay, I will leave that there and talk more about the happy bedtime…..
1) I took these envelopes to their after school club. They all said the same thing but I wrote them all one to avoid falling at the first hurdle!
Middlest found them earlier than planned but I didn’t let him open them until getting into the car on the way home. This is always a tricky time – opening envelopes helped big time! Him finding them early gave me chance to build the story – “I heard some funny noises earlier”, “pretty sure I saw some of your bears running around” and “I think they had your PJs”.
Middlest (5) believed immediately, Biggest (7) eye rolled and said I’d been hiding clothes and toys! And that he didn’t want to find them anyway 😬😬😳🤔
2) I ignored the doubters and started to believe myself (I’m a bit like that with Father Christmas 🙈). On the way home whilst they clutched the envelopes we chatted a bit more about teddies being up to no good. Noises. Sightings. I told them that they must have thought I was asleep and decided it was safe to cause havoc! Biggest decided he was a believer.
Once home they wanted their binoculars, magnifying glasses before going upstairs 🤷♀️. Leaves that have been on the hall floor for a while suddenly became evidence of bears, the light I left on by accident was further proof – their imaginations were running it now.
3) We found the first bear. They wanted to race on for the next bear but I needed to get the second bear out to be found (decided to hide as I went, in case we found them in wrong order!). Plus the whole point was they got ready! I pointed out the note said we should get ready and they did 💃🏼
I decided to go with the pants on head version. I thought it would create carnage but having a fun thing to do actually made them calmer than ever before. They didn’t need to look to make their fun or wind each other up, they were absorbed. Am I even making sense?!
4) With PJs on (and the next bear hidden!) we did the next hunt and found the kangaroo – I thought I’d heard some strange jumping.
Kangaroo wanted them to brush their teeth and go to the loo. They were too excited to properly go the loo though, so had to defer that but it didn’t cause problems tonight – for a change!
4) Calmest and most cooperative tooth brushing in years! Well feels like years. Feels like forever actually.
5) Managed to send them to check their bedroom for the cheeky monkey, whilst hiding him and the books elsewhere. They thought it was hilarious that he denied it and said he was NOT sorry.
I’m a bit obsessed with bedtimes because we have had some really hard bedtimes. We will have more hard bedtimes.
I took some little audios which are going to be on my Instagram. Decided if I posted here they’d take forever and a day to load.
If you try this or feel inspired to try something with your own twist I’d love to hear about it. Really hope some happy bedtimes come out of it.
They were keen to tell all their friends about their toys coming alive so I did tell them it was me as didn’t want them getting teased (eldest in year 3). Therefore I won’t be able to do it again in quite the same way – would love it to get a bit more mileage! I miss the sharing of worksheets and tasks that used to go on at work – so it would be great if you felt it was worth a whirl in your house! Xx