Kristi Yamaguchi's Tips: Fighting the Bedtime Battle

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

I am, at this very moment, engaged in one of my favorite parenting games: bedtime whack-a-mole. Every time one of my kids pops out of their bedroom for another drink/snack/hug/kiss/announcement-that-he-has-a-diorama-due-tomorrow, I don't get a rubber mallet with which to bop them back into their holes-er, beds. For me, getting infants to sleep was comparatively easy. They can't get out of their cribs. But preschoolers? They get their second wind at 9 p.m. and can open doors. What's a mom to do?

Former Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi to the rescue! The figure skater, now mom of two, shared her bedtime tricks during the Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry Story Hour.

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What is bedtime like in the Yamaguchi household? Kristi says, "I like bedtime to be soothing, the calm in our day. It's a time for me and the girls to spend quiet time together. My girls will only be little for a short while and the time flies by. I want to enjoy tucking them in for as long as I can."

So how does she achieve this nighttime Nirvana? "Focusing on slowing things down really helps. So if we can take our time a little and enjoy winding down I think it sets them up for a good night sleep." She adds that "reading a good book always helps too!" Her last tip is to stay consistent. Kristy explains, "Try and maintain a routine, a set of traditions that you repeat and start to look forward to each night. I think the predictability of the routine is comforting to kids. It's the same reason kids love to read the same book a hundred times."

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Which is exactly why I have Goodnight Moon memorized. (And Piggies. And The Runaway Bunny. And The Very Hungry Caterpillar....) Maybe I'm doing better than I thought! Sometimes, I forget in all the hustle of tooth brushing and prayer saying to appreciate those sweet moments. Not only does Kristy remember them, but one was the inspiration for her children's book. "A recent story involves my new book, 'It's a Big World, Little Pig.' I was trying to come up with a good name for the main character, the pig. I thought maybe this would be a fun activity for me to do with the girls. So we started thinking up all kinds of silly names. But, ultimately, my oldest daughter Keara named the pig "Poppy" after her favorite flower. I thought it was a great fit. And now, my youngest, Emma, says she is Poppy's best friend."

What's bedtime like at your house? Do you have a favorite bedtime story?

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