What’s the most time consuming part of your daily parenting routine? If you’re like most parents, you’re probably devoting many minutes to nighttime rituals.
A new study found parents spend 140 hours a year getting their kids ready for bed—but that time is hardly wasted: Brushing tiny teeth, pulling little arms and legs into pajamas and tucking in teddy bears can leave us ready for bedtime ourselves, but these are also the moments when our kids have our undivided attention.
According to the survey of 1,000 parents of children aged 3 to 12 conducted by toothbrush company Firefly, the average bedtime routine is about 25 minutes long. When we add this up, parents spend the equivalent of 18 work days per year getting kids ready for bed.
That may sound like a lot of time, but it also means a lot in the way of opportunities for meaningful connections with our kids.
Parents often report frustration with the bathroom part of the bedtime routine. (No surprise here, little kids aren’t known for valuing hygiene.) But studies show that we are making a difference in promoting good habits with our kids, no matter how many times that little toothbrush is tossed.
According to the new survey, kids aged 5 and 6 take the most time to brush their teeth, but parents can help these kindergarten stragglers by brushing up on some tooth-related songs and serenading them through the activity.
Seeing these moments as an opportunity for fun makes bedtime routines a time to enjoy rather than endure.
The survey also shows bath time and pajama time are bigger struggles for dads than moms—who tend to get the job done a few minutes faster. For both, these moments can be used to engage with kids by playfully moving them onto the next task with silly songs and prompts. After all, when you’re having fun making memories with your kids you’re not counting the minutes.
If this still leaves you tired, you’re in good company: Three-quarters of parents admitted to feeling exhausted after putting their child to bed. But there are plenty of things that are both exhausting and worth every moment.
If you’re a parent, you already knew that, right? 😉