For a contest, courtesy of www.DramaU.net !
1. Wear 'em out. I have a friend with twins, and she used to do a "forced march" every afternoon. The boys had to walk for about 30-45 minutes (depending on the age), which guaranteed her some free time while they napped. Translate this to your kids. Take a family bike ride, play Wii, or do an exercise video as a group. They'll sleep better -- and so will you!
2. Get a routine. We're bad about this, I admit. With three kids at very different ages, it's hard to stick to a routine when one has basketball, one has homework, and one just wants to be with her big brother and sister. But as much as we can, we eat at the same time and try to get the kids in bed at the same time each night.
3. Lights out! Little ones don't want to miss anything, so if there's lots of noise or lights, they'll be up and down like the stock market. Keep things quiet and dark. If this means you have to take your own activities elsewhere in the house, do so.
4. Bribe them. My husband told my littlest that if she went to sleep in her own bed for two weeks straight, he'd get her a puppy. It worked, but then we were stuck with the puppy -- and getting up and down to take him out as he was housetraining caused us more lost sleep than having our 4-year-old in bed with us! So maybe try bribing with smaller things, like, oh, a STUFFED puppy.
5. Get them up early. If you (and your kids) are early to rise, you'll be early to bed, too. Now that I get up at 5 AM to go to the gym, I'm ready to hit the hay by 8:30. The kids are, too, so we all turn in much earlier than we used to. The only problem? I can't stay up later than they do to enjoy the peace and quiet! ;)
Thanks, DramaU.net, for the contest!