Every parent dreads the bedtime routine, especially on those nights when the kids are running wild, and mom and dad are running on fumes. A lot goes into getting a little one all cozy in their bed, and for parents (and children) that process can be totally overwhelming to the point where no one wants to even bother.
Thankfully, one mom shared a simple and effective hack for bedtime routines with kids, and it’s honestly brilliant. It all boils down to letting your child have a little bit of say in how things go down.
Alisha Denke (@alishadenke on TikTok) explained that, sometimes, her son throws tantrums when it’s time for bed. After endless nighttime battles, Denke came up with a trick that helps prevent meltdowns and makes the bedtime process go so much smoother.
In a now-viral TikTok video, Denke shared how she prints out two lists of bedtime routine options for her son and lets him choose the one he wants. Though the most important pieces of the routine are on both lists (bathe, brush teeth, use potty), there are some differentiating factors that make it seem like her son is in control.
In the video, Denke places two pieces of paper on a table in front of her son. The first piece of paper has a big letter A on it and reads, “Bath, Snack, Brush Teeth, Potty, Netflix, Sleep.” The second list has a large B on it and reads, “Shower, Brush & Floss, Story Time, Cuddles, Potty, Sleep.”
Denke then explains to her son that these are the options he can choose from for how to proceed with bedtime. “How you feeling tonight? You feeling like cuddles, or are you feeling like Netflix and bed?” she asks.
She then pans the camera up to her son who is clutching an iPad to his chest. “I’m feeling like Netflix and bed,” he replies.
“So if you’re feeling like Netflix and bed, maybe you need a bath, then a snack, brush teeth, potty, Netflix and sleep, yeah?” Denke asks.
“Mmhm,” her son replies, nodding his head with no sign of defiance in sight.
“Alright my guy!” she exclaims, grabbing the option A piece of paper. “A it is.”
The video, which now has over 440k views and over 65k likes, collected hundreds of comments from parents. One comment noted that the parenting hack was tricky but effective.
“I love this. Giving them two options makes them feel like they’re in control even though they’re not,” the commenter wrote.
Denke replied, “Yes, & thank you! Mindfulness is something we practice with our babes.”
Another wrote how this type of tactic will be beneficial for the young boy when he grows up and actually has to make real decisions for himself.
“This is huge for parenting. My boyfriend and I struggle to make decisions because they were made for us for so long without our input. Awesome job, mama!” another TikToker commented.
After the bedtime hack blew up on TikTok, Denke showed more of the interesting parenting tactics she implements in her home, including her “Kitchen Rules” and “Bathroom Rules,” which are to help her son become more independent. She also mentioned that her 4-year-old can already read and write.
One TikToker commented, “That’s amazing. Good job mama. You are doing such a good job with those babies. Don’t let ANYONE try to tell you otherwise.”
Denke responded, “Thank you. I’m trying. 🥰 Means a lot. I really don’t feel appreciated most days as a stay at home. So thank you ❤️much love.”
And thank you so much, Alisha Denke, for this bedtime hack!