As promised in my Bedtime Routine Visual Chart post, I’m following with the Evening Routine. Yes, I like to work backwards from the hour of sleep.
Again it’s because I believe that sleep is sacred for the proper functioning of the brain. For those of us with special needs, we already have enough on our plates so we don’t need to complicate it further. If you are one of the ones reading this blog that falls into the neurotypical block, that’s okay. You’re still welcome here and this advice still applies. Sleep remains sacred even for you. No one can be at their best with crappy sleep.
So the evening is where we should be winding down. It’s what I like to call “quiet time” in my home. It’s when I prefer to commit myself to be home with my family. And this is where I realize I’ve made a mistake on my schedule template. I labeled my Bedtime Routine as Evening Routine and failed to put the Evening Routine in there completely, so I need to fix that now. Told you I would need to tweak this as I go.
For us our Evening Routine begins when we take our night meds. Ideally it should be that all of us unplugs from screen time at this point but… BLEEEEEEEEEERRRRGH…. ack. Science says that the light from screens tricks the brain into wakefulness and that we should shut down at least one hour before bed. I won’t argue with the science but… I’m not fighting this battle with myself much less with my kids. Do what you need to do. I’m not looking and I’m not judging. I’m just saying this is our unstructured downtime and I refuse to police it. So if they want to spend it on their handheld gizmos, fine. If that means a book, rock on. If it’s LEGOs okay just not in my room please. You get the idea. SOMETIMES – sometimes – I get brave and try to get them together and do something as a group. This is rare and usually doesn’t end well.
I will say that if sleep is seriously messed up and not going well, then I will fight that battle and enforce the no screen time rule in an effort to reset the circadian rhythms. That process for my family takes about a month. It’s a rough ride. No joke.
But really, the Evening Routine is the perfect opportunity for family time if you have a big enough block for it. Cards, board games, arts and crafts, etc. Aim for quiet things to do together if this is appealing to you and your family.
So here’s the list for me:
- Check to make sure homework is done (if not, no downtime!)
- Check to make sure chores are done (if not, no downtime!)
- Quiet Time
Once again, I’ve created a template visual chart with Open Office you can download here if you’d like. It looks like this:
As always, customize the chart to fit your needs and add columns for the number of people you need.
So for my family this chart is going to look like this:
Once you’re done setting up your chart, print it off and slide it into a sheet protector and hang it up with your bedtime routine.
And yes, it’s completely okay to change these charts when you need to. The whole point of these is to help you, not shackle you into something that isn’t working.
So now we’re going to switch it up and start seeing if our sleep prep is paying off by working on our Morning Routine next time!