Parenting is never easy, I wished that when I had my first child a full detailed instruction on how to be a perfect parent was included in the pack. Sadly, I was thrown in the deep end, mostly struggling to keep my head above water, failure is something I have to get used to. You might think that I’m being hard on myself, but there are times when I really do think that I’m less than perfect, especially when it comes to putting my 8-year-old to bed.

My son is great. Well mannered, polite and happy. But then some kind of strange transformation occurs when my husband and I mention the word ‘bedtime’. Suddenly he becomes argumentative, hostile and awkward. He finds any excuse to delay bedtime, from brushing one tooth at a time on 5-minute intervals to insisting watching the latest evening news. When was the last time an 8-year-old been so interested in current world affairs? It never fails to amaze me the kind of excuses he comes out with when he knows it’s time for bed.

David and I have always believed that it’s important to have a ‘me-time’ in the evening and by putting the kids to bed at a reasonable time, gives us that quality time. Many couples fail to realise that spending even an hour with each other in the evening is very important especially if you have kids running riot all day.

My son, however, has other ideas, he believes that going to bed at 8.30 is some kind of torture. According to my him, he finds sleeping pretty boring. Well, I’m sorry kiddo, but if I can find some other way to make sleeping more exciting for you then I will let you know!

After putting the baby to bed, tidying the house, loading the washer, getting the school clothes ready, bath time and kids messing about for an hour before bedtime, my husband and I are lucky if we get an hour to spend together. And usually after a dose of Dexter and a glass of wine were out for the count until the baby decides to wake up. We then find ourselves crawling up the stairs, grunting at each other on who’s turn is it to do the feeding. So much for our quality time eh?

So when I saw the Ready for Bed Week, I thought I’d check it out. I could sure do with some useful advice in how to bring back harmony in our bedtime routine.

The site offers downloadable bedtime reward charts, and for every 100 charts downloaded you can help other children in an underdeveloped or developing country get a comfortable place to sleep. SCAW (Sleeping Children Around the World) works to provide bed kits for children. This year alone they provided 6,000-bed kits for children in the Philippines, great advice for a good cause.

I don’t know whether my son is a little too old for reward charts but I’m willing to try anything in exchange for an easy life. Unless I discover something to make sleeping just a tad bit exciting.

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British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.


  1. hey ria, i think this is a great idea! one of my nephews had a terrible experience potty-training and was still wetting the bed at 6 or 7 years old. i think most of us — him included — focused on the idea that he was “too old” to be going through that and the traditional potty-training methods weren’t worth the time or effort but, like you said, you’re willing to try anything and so were we. it all worked out on our side as i’m sure it will on yours!

    the cool thing is that the reward chart isn’t strictly for bedtime — it includes rewards for “big kid” tasks like cleaning up. 🙂

  2. This might come in handy for me. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. @GEMMERZZ: I have used this method before when they were younger and you’re right they’re great. I’ll see how he gets on with it this time 😉

    @Bingkee: Definitely Bing, its a great way to encourage and praise kids without feeling pressurized. It’s always worked for me! 🙂

  4. Since we moved to our new place my son is having trouble to stick to his routine. One of those routine is to go to bed around 8tish. I thought maybe because he is still adjusting to his new room and new bed. He used to sleep on his crib until he turns two. So maybe that’s one reason his having a hard time of the transition from crib to bed. This passed 2 weeks he is so hard. He got sick and it is very hard for me. I always telling him that he is a big boy now and he needs to learn to sleep on his own. Sometimes he listen sometimes he gets so cranky. Oh well I guess this is part of parenting to stay calm and patient as possible. Thanks for sharing this post I may try it.

  5. Thanks for the tip, Ria 🙂 Zakei seldom goes to bed before midnight. This might help me make things easier.

  6. @ria: I had the same thing with Sam when we moved, but after a little perseverance they do get used to it. Its difficult when they’re sick too as we tend to spoil them a lot more and let them get away with things. But you’ve done great for persevering. Its all part and parcel of being a parent… sometimes we have good and bad days. But remember to always stick to your guns! :d

    @Kate C.: I firmly believe in routine, Ive always stuck to a certain time from when they were babies (but it does get harder as they get older). Reward charts are a great way of getting them to do things tho. Its always worked for me :d/

  7. Been there done that.. I also made a mistake during summer when i let them stay up for as long as they want and when it’s back to school time they will be in bed but won’t go to sleep. Now we set a time for them to sleep at 9 whether it’s on weekdays or on weekends..

    btw, I love your template:)

  8. @irel: Thanks Irel 🙂 I can relate to that, summer holidays tend to mess up the kids routine, a week before going back to school I usually get them back into it by going to bed at 8.30, so when school days come its not so hard for them and of course me!

  9. oh, i have my fair share of bedtime woes with my princess up to this time. she can come up of all imaginable alibis known to man thinking i’d buy it. i use the reward system (more of a bride really…:-“) to just get her to go to bed. we make a bargain and it works naman. during school days, her bedtime is 9pm and is strictly followed but during weekends, i let her off the hook. when she’s really following rules, i reward her and shower her praises just to give her the motivation that i too, mean business! oh, the joys of parenthood!!!

  10. Parenting really hold lots of responsibilities which no other kind of person can handle. Kudos to you Ria and to the great moms out there!

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