Recently, my hubby and I started swapping who puts what kid to sleep at night and it made me realize a few things. You see, I often recommend families rotate bedtime duties so that the baby/toddler learns to easily go to sleep without needing a specific person to put them down, but in our household, when my son was born, I naturally became his main caregiver (re: milk on tap), and my husband took over bedtime duties with our toddler. Now that the tap is running dry and the open bar is closing, I’m not needed in my son’s bedtime routine and my husband and I have started switching around.
Here is what I was reminded of:
Swapping bedtime routine gives each parent the opportunity of connection
As I was putting my daughter to bed last night, I realized I had been missing out on this sweet moment of the day, reading stories with her and chatting, while my husband hadn’t had the opportunity to do it with our son. I heard him in the other room reading and singing to our baby boy, something he has only done a handful of times because I always take over. As I was enjoying our daughter, I am pretty sure he was also enjoying those fresh moments with our son.
Each parent brings different things to the table
You know how we learn as new parents that our babies will focus on the skills they most enjoy first? That’s how we are as humans in general. I am going to do the things I like doing with my daughter in my style, and my husband will put a different twist on the same activity. He likes to “veer off script” when reading books, where as I read the book word for word. My kiddos benefit from both things. From me they get the story as it’s written, read in english with no accent (sorry hun), and from him they gets more of this conversation, playful reading. The other day they were playing finding different letters in the book for example, something I probably wouldn’t have done. Both ways of reading the book are great, and swapping parents at bedtime diversifies their learning opportunities.
Switching it up shakes up the monotony for both parent and child.
My daughter is so excited that I am now putting her to sleep that she stops the stalling tactics and goes straight to picking books. I actually have been enjoying the change of putting baby Nico to sleep which while easy, includes wrestling him to change his diaper and put his sleep sack on. I think we have all felt a fresh energy from changing it up that our making our nights run smoother.
You help your child be more adaptable to change
It is very common that I work with families who’s little ones only want one caregiver to put them to sleep. This is exhausting for that parent and really we want to teach our little one’s that they can go to sleep no matter who is putting them to bed. When you switch off bedtime duties, you create more freedom for nights. If a parent has to go out of town for whatever reason, it makes life that much easier knowing it wont have an impact on bedtime.
So there you go! A whole bunch of reasons to switch it up! and don’t just stop at bedtime routine. Switch up chores, or other parenting duties especially when something is becoming an activity you dread. We all need a break once in a while from our daily to do’s of adult life.