Listen to this episode to learn a different approach to bedtime chaos. Whether you have young kids now or you plan to in the future, this episode will teach you everything you need to know to have a calm and connected experience at bedtime.
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Read the full episode transcript below:
Welcome to the Weight Loss Before and After Pregnancy Podcast. The place you’ll get simple strategies you can apply to your life today to start losing weight. Strategies that’ll help you reach your goal, move on with your life, and focus on the things that matter most to you. I’m your host, Certified Life and Weight Coach, Andrea Scalici. Let’s get started.
Hey everybody. Welcome to episode number 8.
Today we’re gonna talk about bedtime chaos. For those of you listening who are parents of young kids, this episode will be especially helpful for you. And I don’t think I need to explain what bedtime chaos means. You already know. But if you don’t have kids yet, and you’re planning to, listen to this one because it’ll help you when you start to experience this too.
I decided to do an entire podcast episode on this topic because it’s something that comes up again and again with my clients. The end of the day, specifically bedtime, is one of the most challenging times of the day for many people I talk to. Emotions tend to be high and energy tends to be low for the parents. And many young kids are so tired by bedtime that they lose control. The combination of exhausted young kids and tired, emotional parents can be like the combination of lighting a match near a bunch of explosives. It’s not good. But what I want to offer you in this podcast episode is a different approach, a different way of looking at and experiencing bedtime. So, let’s dive in.
Let’s break bedtime up into three separate time frames. So, you’ve got before bedtime, during bedtime, and after bedtime.
Before bedtime, how you’re feeling will determine how you show up. If you’re feeling physically tired, mentally exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, resistant to what’s happening, or even just done for the day. If you show up to bedtime like that, chances are you’re not going to have an amazing bedtime experience.
And chances are, during bedtime, you’ll react to your kids in ways you might not want to. You might yell and scream, intimidate or threaten them to get them to do what you want them to do at bedtime. You might react in an angry way. You might be mean or scary to them.
If this happens during bedtime, you might make excuses after bedtime is over. Like, blaming your reaction to your kids on their behavior, blaming it on something they did or something they didn’t do. You might really want to take the edge off and eat something off plan or drink alcohol. And you might begin to feel guilt or shame for how you acted at bedtime, while still holding a little blame and resentment towards your kids behavior. Or maybe towards your partner for not helping you out more at bedtime.
Now, this is a cycle I hear from many clients. And although it’s something no one is proud of, they feel stuck in this cycle. They don’t know how to get out of it because they think the only way out is to change how their kids act or how their partners act at bedtime.
“If only my kids would behave and do what I say, bedtime would go much smoother.”
“If only my partner would help me more, bedtime would go quicker and there would be much less stress on me.”
These are the things I hear people say. And I can relate to this. I used to feel the exact same way and be stuck in this cycle too. But everything changed for me once I found life coaching and learned a few simple tools that completely rocked my world, in a good way.
I’m going to teach you some of those tools now with hopes that they help you overcome bedtime chaos too. And by doing that, you might find your desire for food or alcohol after bedtime to be reduced or completely gone. Not to mention, you’ll have a better experience at bedtime which will do wonders with your relationship with your kids and maybe even your partner.
Ok. I’ve got three tools to teach you today. And we’ll start with tool number one.
This tool isn’t new for you if you listen to my podcast regularly. It’s called The Model. So, the Model shows us there are circumstances in the world. Facts. We each have thoughts about those circumstances. Thoughts are opinions. Our thoughts cause our feelings. Our feelings drive our actions. And our actions give us our results.
So, before bedtime, if you’re feeling mentally exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, resistant, or just done for the day, it’s because of what you’re thinking. It’s not because of what happened during your day, or what happened at dinner, or what’s about to happen during bedtime. Things that happen are circumstances. Other people and how they think, feel, or act, are circumstances to us. And we get to decide how we want to think about anything that happens around us. The way we decide to think about it will determine how we feel and act and the results we get.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, resistant, or done. There’s nothing wrong with those emotions. As long as you can clearly recognize where they’re coming from. Your thoughts. Not the things happening around you. These emotions are created by your thoughts.
You can decide to feel those emotions, let them drive your actions, and how you show up at bedtime. Yell, scream, fight, resist, do what you feel in those moments.
Or you can decide to feel those emotions, process them through, understand where they’re coming from, your thoughts, and not let them drive your actions and how you show up at bedtime, that’s possible too.
Or you can decide to change those emotions and show up to bedtime feeling differently which will completely change how you show up.
You can decide for yourself, and everyday you can choose differently if you like. But the key here is knowing exactly where your emotions come from and why you might react in a certain way.
Remember, there are circumstances in the world. These are facts. Other people and how they think, feel, and act are circumstances to us. We each have thoughts about those circumstances. Thoughts are opinions. Our thoughts cause our feelings. Our feelings drive our actions. And our actions give us our results.
If you understand this, you can show up to bedtime frustrated or not and be completely fine with how you react to your kids because you understand where these emotions are coming from inside of you. And if your kids are emotional too, you understand where their emotions are coming from inside of them too. You are their circumstance. And they have their own thoughts, feelings, actions, and results too.
It’s all ok. It’s how it’s supposed to work.
Now let’s talk about tool number two. The Manual.
Have you ever bought an appliance, a computer, a complicated toy, a backyard shed, or anything like that and it comes with a big book of instructions. A big book that tells you exactly how to handle this thing you just bought. How to put it together, how to maintain it, and everything else.
Similarly to this, we all have manuals for other people, and even ourselves. We have this big book of instructions inside our minds for how other people should think, feel, or behave. And when other people aren’t following our manuals, whether we communicate what our manuals are or not, we think something has gone wrong. We think there’s something wrong with how they’re thinking, feeling, or behaving. We think thoughts like, “They shouldn’t be doing that.” Or “They should be doing this.” Or “They don’t do what I say.” Or “They do something they shouldn’t.”
Whenever you hear those thoughts inside your mind with the words shouldn’t, should, don’t, or do it’s a clue, or a red flag, that you might have a manual for someone else.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having expectations or asking for help or requesting someone do something. But when you tie your emotions, your reactions to whether or not someone complies with your manual, that’s when you get into trouble.
Here’s what I mean. It’s bedtime. Your young kids are running around, not listening to you, not getting ready for bed, making a mess, maybe throwing books or toys around or their clothes. It’s chaos, or atleast it feels that way.
And your manual says kids shouldn’t be acting like this. Kids should listen to you and do what you say so they can get into bed on time.
And let’s say you’re thinking this, which is exactly opposite of what’s happening, and you’re already showing up to bedtime physically tired, mentally exhausted, frustrated, annoyed, resistant, and just done for the day. That’s when things might get out of hand and when the match might strike the explosives, figuratively speaking, and go boom.
So, the key here is to understand that you have a manual for how your kids or your partner should think, feel, and behave. And that’s all that’s happening.
You think they should be different than they are. That’s it. And when you know this, and you can really see it for what it is, it’s much easier to let go of your expectations. It’s much easier to just let them be themselves. Let them think what they want to think, let them feel what they feel, and do what they do, as long as it’s safe of course.
When you realize it’s all just a manual you have for them, it’s easier to let it all go in the moment. And maybe even laugh a little bit at how different things actually are than what you expect inside your head. Sometimes the difference is so great, it can be funny when you clearly see it.
Ok. The last tool we’re gonna talk about in this episode. Tool number three. Take the time to learn about brain development in kids.
I know that sounds super big and complicated. But it’s not.
Here’s what you must know. Humans all have a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. It’s the executive part of our brain that makes decisions, plans, and has our best interests in mind, among other things.
This part of the brain isn’t typically fully developed in humans until they’re in their 20’s. So, if your kid is young, their prefrontal cortex has a long way to go to be fully developed. They can’t control themselves like you can. They can’t make decisions like you can, or plan like you can, or even have their best interests in mind like you can. It’s just not possible for them yet. So, they’re gonna think, feel, and behave completely different than your expectations because they’re kids without fully developed prefrontal cortexes. It’s normal.
They’re actually thinking, feeling, and behaving exactly as they’re supposed to. Exactly as kids are designed to. Nothing has gone wrong. They are exactly how they’re supposed to be.
When you can show up to bedtime, completely understanding why you’re feeling the way you do, completely understanding your manuals for other people, and completely understanding that your kids don't have fully developed brains yet. When you can show up understanding these things, bedtime chaos won’t feel like chaos anymore. It’ll all feel normal. Like that’s exactly what’s supposed to happen. Nothing has gone wrong.
Your kids may be running around, not listening to you, throwing things around, or doing whatever. And when you can accept what is, instead of fight against it or resist it or think something is wrong with this picture. When you can accept it, you will approach bedtime with calm, acceptance, understanding, and love. And that is possible for everyone.
It’ll take a little practice. It’ll feel weird at first. It’ll go against all of your instincts. But stick with it. It will change your experience of wanting food or alcohol after bedtime. It will change your experience of your kids or your partner at bedtime. And it will change your relationship with your family and allow you to connect during these times instead of fight or disconnect.
That’s all we really want anyways, right? To connect with the people we love.
Now, as we wrap up this episode, I want to leave you with one resource. A parenting expert who is the only parenting expert I follow. Her name is Janet Lansbury and she has an amazing podcast called Unruffled.
If you want to learn more about your kids brain development and why they do what they do, I encourage you to listen to Janet, or find another parenting expert you trust. And if you want to continue working on your own thoughts, feelings, actions, and results, continue listening to me. That’s what I offer you here in this podcast.
Alright. That’s it for this episode. I’ll talk to you in the next one.
If you loved this podcast, I want to invite you to check out The 6 Stages Weight Loss Program. It’s my signature program that’ll teach you everything you need to know from start to finish to lose weight, reach your goal, and maintain it once you’re there. You’ll also learn how to have your own back through the process. Join me over at mcccoaching.com/join. I’ll see you there.
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