Jump on the PJ Train

bedtime child development conscious parenting
Last week, a coaching client of mine shared a brilliant strategy they’ve instituted to make bedtime go more smoothly. 

This client has 5-year-old twins, so, as you can imagine, bedtime is often a huge struggle.

Most nights, my client and her husband struggled to get their kids to cooperate at bedtime. The twins would run around, compete vehemently for their parents’ attention, and refuse to get ready for bed. 

The parents tried everything including rewards and punishments, but nothing seemed to be working.

At their wit’s end, my clients spontaneously came up with the idea for a PJ Parade, where everyone would put on their pajamas, get all ready for bed, and then march in a line to the bedroom.

My client declared, “Jump on board the PJ train and lead the way into the bedroom!”

The boy twin got to lead the parade, proudly marching and leading the family into the bedroom. To their surprise, his twin sister went along with the shenanigans and got behind her twin brother. They all shouted "PJ parade!" as a chant and marched into the bedroom.

The parents tucked them in without any fuss. The kids fell asleep quickly, exhausted from all the fun they had. The parents were amazed at how well the PJ parade worked.


Let’s talk about WHY this worked so well.


1) Simply put, play is the language of childhood.

This means that play is the most effective way to get kids to cooperate because you are getting inside their world and interacting with them on their terms.

When my clients incorporated it into their bedtime routine, they were able to get their kids to cooperate without any resistance. The PJ parade was a brilliant way to use play to make an otherwise stressful routine feel more relaxed and fun.

The boy twin was proud to be the line leader, and it gave him a sense of responsibility and leadership. By giving him this role, the parents were able to empower him and make him feel like an important part of the family.

That may seem silly, but kids will take any opportunity to feel a sense of importance within the family.

2) Play also creates more connection.

Instead of the parents begging, pleading, and insisting that their kids get ready for bed, they were all able to work together with a sense of creativity and a feeling of lightness and joy.

In the end, the PJ parade was a simple but effective solution to a common parenting problem. It showed that sometimes, all it takes is a little creativity and playfulness to get kids to cooperate.

And then everyone goes to bed feeling relaxed and happy.

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