Dad’s Bedtime Rituals Resonate Beyond the Toddler Years

Bedtime rituals(Guest Blog by Realtor/blogger Bob Gordon)

I’m a single Dad with split custody. I’m not going to be a Disneyland Dad, so when my son was young I created rules and routines regarding bedtime. My goal was to create a great home for my son … then as well as now!

8 p.m. is Dad’s House Bedtime

Regardless of what time I picked up my son, I was constantly thinking about the no. 1 rule for Dad’s house bedtime. You can’t just say lights out, so we had a bedtime ritual we followed every single night. Once in a while my son would call from his Mom’s house around bedtime, and we would follow the bedtime ritual over the phone.

  • Bath time is after dinner. Clean up, warm up, play. As Schuyler got older, he started asking for his bath earlier and stayed in the water longer. He even earned money for a toy submarine. To this day, my son loves to take baths. Yeah – Dad’s house bedtime is just a ritual but make sure to make it fun.
  • Pajamas time. Believe me, I heard early and often, “Schuyler doesn’t wear pajamas at his Mom’s house.” But this is part of our routine for Dad’s house bedtime. On a few occasions, this meant I led by example. I would put on my own pajamas, turn off all the lights around the house and get ready for bed.RealtorBlogger Bob Gordon
  • Read a book. Around 7:30 p.m., Schuyler would be ready for bed. I would tuck my son in and read him a story. Here’s a favorite memory. Just after Christmas, 1997, I’m reading a random book to my son. I’m hooked on this fun kid’s book and read five chapters aloud. I look up – my son is sound asleep. I keep reading, now to myself, by the dim light of the lamp. The book? “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
  • Lights out at 8 p.m. Most of the time, after reading a book or three, my son would be asleep. Some nights it took a little extra effort. I might lay down for a few minutes or something.  But most evenings he would be asleep at 8 p.m.

Our bedtime ritual worked really well. When my son became a ‘tween, we added half an hour. Once high school started, the homework load pretty much demanded a later bedtime. My son is a sophomore in college now, with weird sleep hours. He still loves taking baths.

Dad’s House Bedtime Pays Off

It is Thanksgiving week as I write this post. My son is home, and I tell him the subject of the blog. Schuyler laughs and says he was the only 17 year old in high school who didn’t know 8 p.m. is not a normal bedtime for a teenager. His girlfriend says that is why he is so smart. He always gets plenty of sleep!

They laugh and go back to hanging out. And I smile … my son is home for the holidays, and life is good.


    • Christian Toto says

      I fall asleep reading to my boys all the time! Not sure if our guest blogger had a similar reaction, but my wife frequently has to take over after my eyes refuse to open or my boys keep saying, ‘wake up, keep reading!’

      • says

        Most famously did not fall asleep on one occasion. Reading the first Harry Potter book to my son, I read about five chapters out loud and when I looked up, realized he was sound asleep. Then I kept reading to myself for another sixty minutes before turning out the lights and moving to another room to finish the first Potter book!

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