Our Bedtime Dance Party Ritual


Bedtime. In theory, it’s a time of snuggles, stories, and sleep eyes. In my reality, it was struggles, sadness, and screaming (sometimes from ALL parties).

Every night, we struggled in our bedtime routine. They fought going up the stairs. They fought while getting undressed. They whined and cried while we brushed their teeth. It was not a pretty picture.

I began to dread getting the kids into bed. I would count down the hours as bedtime approached, my anxiety building. I wanted my kids in bed, regrettably wishing away the nights. I knew something about bedtime had to change, but I wasn’t sure what.

Then one night, as I could feel the bedtime tension rising, I turned on music to try to lighten the mood.

It took everyone by surprise. I’m not usually the one to turn on music and bust a move in the middle of doing dishes. However, it didn’t take much to persuade everyone to dance. The dancing lead to smiles and giggles. It was then I realized I could use the dance party to motivate my kids to get ready for bed. The nightly bedtime dance party was born.

After cleaning up from dinner, it’s a race to see which one can get his or her clothes off first. Then they race to put their clothes in the washing machine before heading to our family room dance floor to let the bedtime dancing begin.

The first one to the dance floor gets to pick the bedtime dance party songs. We allow up to three songs depending on moods, energy levels, and timing. We all dance our hearts out. It’s amazing how much it can lift our spirits and change the whole vibe of the bedtime. We all end in a better mood, thank you endorphins!

With the kids’ spirits lifted after a dance party, bedtime has taken on a whole new feel. It’s become a game for all of us, not a punishment. The kids rarely fight while putting on their pajamas or brushing their teeth now. (Although, I do sometimes have to add motivation like the first one done gets to pick the books.)

I would never have thought that some dancing, combined with a little healthy competition, could be the recipe for giggles, laughs, and bonding that our family needed to turn bedtime into a cherished part of the day.

I know that our dance party bedtime routine won’t work forever, but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. What do you do to help lift your family’s mood? Any family rituals that you swear by?

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Jaclynn knows a good thing when she sees it, that’s why she and her husband, Dave, decided to raise their son and daughter in Brookfield, the same Milwaukee suburb where they grew up. After earning her English degree from UW-Madison, Jaclynn attended Marquette University Law School and worked for several years at a small Milwaukee firm practicing estate planning and elder law. When her son was born a few year ago, she followed her heart and became a SAHM. She is now the mother of two, having welcomed a daughter last June. When she's not managing her family circus, you can find Jaclynn instructing or taking classes at the Barre Code. Jaclynn would be lost without dessert, family friendly breweries, books, comfy pants, and the moms who have helped her navigate the labyrinth that is ‘momming’.


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