Toilet, Teeth and Bed!Toilet, Teeth and Bed!Or… Teeth, Toilet, Bed!But not… Bed, Toilet, Teeth,or you’ll be a silly head!
We’ve used this silly refrain as a part of our bed time routine most nights for the last 2 + years – since my middle two began to show that they needed more predictability in their lives (an early school start time was a stark wake up call!). It has worked so stupidly well. My 9 year old told me yesterday that he’s so stuck on the whole Toilet-Teeth-Bed thing that one day he brushed his teeth in the middle of the day, just because he had been to the toilet – then caught himself and thought, ‘oh well, my teeth will just get an extra brush today!’. I laughed and thought, would he have taken himself to bed next??
My younger boy used to run up and down the hallway yelling out ‘Toilet, teeth and bed!’, in his toddler sing-song voice, and he now wanders around the house at bed time, checking on his siblings and asking very insistently ‘Have you been to the toilet? Have you brushed your teeth? It’s bedtime!’ He is a great dibber-dobber and will come and tell me if either child is holding up proceedings unduly. I suppose he knows that I won’t be ready to lay down with him until after the others are all tucked in 😉
Do you find that using songs as part of your routines makes life easier for your child? Whether it be in the mornings or at night, you will find us singing a tune or saying a rhyme as we get on with our day 🙂 Getting dressed is ‘This is the way we put on our socks, put on our socks, put on our socks, This is the way we put on our socks on a cold and windy morning!’. At night we might use ‘Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John, went to bed with his trousers on! One shoe off and one shoe on, diddle diddle dumpling, my son John!’.
Routines make life so much simpler, in so many ways.
If you have a mental checklist (which extends beyond ensuring that you have all of your children!) when you leave the house, you’re much less likely to leave the milk on the bench after breakfast (just for example- not mentioning any names, *coughdarlinghusband*). Or, if you know that you have a task due at work on say, a Tuesday morning, if you have a routine of doing it on the Friday before it’s due, perhaps you wouldn’t end up doing the task at 5.03pm on the Monday evening (ho hum… this is still me, every time that I have a blog post due!).
In the spirit of short and sharp routines (’cause they’re the easiest to maintain!), let’s dive straight into my book suggestions for this wonderful topic:
Check on me / Written by Andrew Daddo, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley
Bedtime for Batman / Written by Michael Dahl ; illustrated by Ethen Beavers ; Batman created by Bob Kane with Bill Finger
Take Ted instead / Written by Cassandra Webb ; illustrated by Amanda Francey.
My meerkat mum Written and illustrated by Ruth Paul
These are my picks from the Board Books and Junior Kindy collections, perfect for interactive reading with babies of all ages. Do you find that your baby asks for the same books over and over again? They’re getting comfort from their predictable routine! I am very wary of recommending any one particular book from the Parenting collection to cover ‘routines’ – I think that newborn routines develop naturally of their own accord, given time. There are some pretty inappropriate routines suggested in some very popular books and I prefer to encourage parents to go with their guts and do what feels right for them. Just for example, I do not believe that babies need to be wrapped in 15 blankets and fed to a schedule from birth… they like cuddles and comforting throughout the night.
If you are interested in a more Attachment Parenting friendly guide to help you to establish a routine with your baby, I would suggest the Elizabeth Pantley books, including this one:
The no-cry nap solution : guaranteed, gentle ways to solve all your naptime problems Written by Elizabeth Pantley
The Pram Jams routine
Let’s finish off with a couple of our best routine songs, the ones that you will find myself and the other presenters pulling out to sing most weeks 🙂 If we think about how Pram Jam sessions usually follow a similar rhythm, it’s obvious how much the kids love being able to tell what is coming up next. A mum was telling me at Pram Jam this week here at Coolbellup about how they went on a road trip over the school holidays, and sang many of the Pram Jam rhymes to pass the time in the car. Her toddler was insistent about the order in which the songs were sung, based on his memory of how they flow during a Pram Jam session! I loved to hear this story, it absolutely reinforces for me how important our sessions are and how much the children are getting out of them.
The kids all know that Pram Jam is starting when we sing ‘Open, Shut them’! They all know that bubbles are coming next when we sing ‘Row, Row, Row your boat’. The ability to develop these habit forming routines carries over to adulthood, a great example is the health professional’s trick of singing or humming a song while ‘scrubbing in’ and washing hands – it’s a wonderful way to ensure that soap is lathered up properly and all the germs are gone.
The beauty of many routine songs is that they can be changed to suit any task:
So, there you have it: that’s it from me for this round of blog posts. I hope that everyone is staying nice and warm and well this winter, we’re well past winter solstice now and will be enjoying the warmth of springtime soon. The mid year holidays passed with just a blink and term 3 has officially begun! Pram Jam and Storytime sessions are back at each Cockburn Library branch with the usual happy routines in play once again.
Hopefully we will catch up with you at one of the libraries soon.